Hasim Rahman wants another shot at the heavyweight title, and he finally looked as if he was ready for it last night.
At Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, the Baltimore native flattened Rob Calloway of St. Joseph, Mo., two minutes into the second round with a devastating overhand right.
The victory was the third in a row for Rahman (38-5-1) during a busy stretch. The 31-year-old won an unimpressive unanimous decision over journeyman Al Cole at Michael's in March to end a four-bout winless skid, then knocked out an overmatched Mario Cawley in the second round of their April 16 bout.
Rahman has fought frequently of late, he said, to sharpen his skills in anticipation of a title shot. He is the World Boxing Association's No. 1 contender and hopes for a rematch with WBA champion John Ruiz. Rahman lost a unanimous decision to Ruiz in December.
The fight started slowly with both fighters feeling each other out in the first round. Calloway (48-5-1) was more aggressive than Rahman, but Rahman landed the best shot of the round, a straight left jab, and he created a welt just below Calloway's left eye.
Rahman was more active in the second round and caught Calloway with a sharp right. Hurt, Calloway immediately tried to stand in and trade shots with Rahman. It was not a good idea.
With Calloway backing up after the fighters traded a flurry of punches, Rahman unleashed the overhand right that caught Calloway square on the side of his jaw. Calloway fell straight to his back and was counted out as Rahman raised his arms in triumph.
"It was a pleasant surprise that he stood in front of me," Rahman said. "I thought I was going to have to chase him around and catch him in the later rounds. He thought he could trade with me and it worked out to my favor."
Less than seven months after Rahman won the heavyweight championship with a stunning fifth-round knockout of Lennox Lewis, Rahman was floored by Lewis in the fourth round of the fighters' rematch. Rahman then went 0-2-1 over his next three fights, and the prolonged slump seemed to signal the end of his viability as a heavyweight contender and the end of big paydays.
Rahman earned $25,000 for his performance.