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Holyfield loses third in a row

NEW YORK -- A focused Hasim Rahman earned his way back into a heavyweight title shot
with a fourth round stoppage of game Kali Meehan. Meehan, who was no match for
"The Rock", weighed in at 232 pounds, his lowest weight since winning
the heavyweight title from Lennox Lewis in 2001.

Coming out fast as predicted, Rahman worked well behind a stiff jab,
immediately putting Meehan on the defensive. By the latter part of the
round though, Meehan got his feet under him and was retaliating with shots
of his own.

Late in the second, the heavy shots finally came into play with Rahman
jarring Meehan with a right hand in the final 30 seconds. Meehan survived
the onslaught and went back to his corner smiling after the heavy exchanges.

Rahman continued to outwork Meehan in the third and fourth rounds, keeping
him pinned against the ropes for extended periods. Finally, late in the
round, Rahman unleashed a series of right hands on Meehan, who attempted to
fight back in spurts, but who, at this point, was overmatched and in serious
trouble. Wisely, Meehan's corner had seen enough, asking referee Eddie
Cotton to halt the bout at the conclusion of the round.

Rahman improves to 40-5-1 with 33 KOs. Meehan drops to 29-3 with 23 KOs.

The retirement watch continues for four-time heavyweight champion Evander
Holyfield, who dropped his third fight in a row, this time via a lopsided 12
round decision to Cincinnati's Larry Donald.

Scores were 119-109 twice and 118-109 for Donald, who ups his record to
42-3-2 with 24 KOs. Holyfield drops to 38-8-2 with 25 KOs.

"I have never given up on anything," said Holyfield. "If I have a change in
the heart I could change my mind. But I will have to pray on it. I still
believe that I can still rise to the occasion. Why not continue to pursue
my dream?"

Before the fight, a docile crowd suddenly and loudly erupted the second
Holyfield made his way into the ring, proving that the "Real Deal" still has
the right stuff for the fans, but once the bell rang, that was about the
only highlight for the Atlanta native.

In the first, Holyfield and Donald tentatively made fistic overtures to each
other, with a strong right hand by Holyfield perhaps being the deciding
factor in scoring the frame.

Donald, standing in the pocket as he circled the former champion, landed a
solid right of his own in the second as he looked to disrupt Holyfield's
rhythm with a mixture of movement and jabs.

Holyfield started the third on the offensive, landing a hard left hook and a
follow-up right cross in the opening seconds. Donald, undaunted, stuck to
his gameplan, but the match was rapidly deteriorating into a tactical
stalemate punctuated by brief spurts of action follows by clinches.

Picking up his own work rate in round four, Donald strafed Holyfield with
right hands, leaving him blindly lunging with hooks of his own. He
continued to gain confidence in the fifth, looking like a rejuvenated
fighter as he stuck out hard jabs followed by whipping right hands. As the
round came to a close, a double jab by Donald hit the mark with no
resistance, leaving Holyfield with a discouraged look on his face as he
returned to his corner.

Donald stayed in control as he outworked Holyfield in round six. Perhaps
feeling the fight slipping away, Holyfield landed some hard right hands in
the early stages of the seventh, but Donald took the shots well and came
back firing.

In rounds eight and nine Donald had Holyfield seconds away from either a
trip to the canvas or a stoppage, but his lack of true heavyweight punching
power allowed his foe to survive.

And while Holyfield landed his best punch of the fight,­ a looping right
hand that jarred Donald briefly in round ten, by the midpoint of the round
Holyfield looked every bit of his 42 years while Donald was on his way to
perhaps the most impressive win of his career.

"Larry The Legend" didn't sit on his lead in the 12th round either, bouncing
on his toes and peppering Holyfield with lefts, finishing off the fight with
two big rights in the final 30 seconds to punctuate the evening.

"Evander is still a great champion," Donald said. "I did what I had to do
to win. I didn't look at him as being too old."

In a heavyweight precursor to the main four bouts on the card, DaVarryl
Williamson scored perhaps the biggest win of his career, unanimously
outpointing former WBC champion Oliver McCall over ten rounds.

Scores were 96-94 twice and 97-94.

"It was a tough loss for me," said McCall. "I will go back to the drawing
board."

McCall took the fight to Williamson from the opening bell, chasing the
Colorado resident around the ring while unleashing power shots when he was
able to trap his foe on the ropes.

The fight followed form in the early going, but when McCall slowed his
forward progress a bit in the third, Williamson finally started firing back
shots. Unfortunately for him, McCall's retorts were harder and more
accurate.

The superior work rate by Williamson, though, brought him back into the
fight, as fatigue set in on the "Atomic Bull" in the middle rounds.

As the fight entered its latter stages, both fighters showed the scars of
battle, but the pattern remained the same ­ McCall stalking and throwing
power punches, Williamson boxing, using distance and jabbing.

In the eighth, Williamson landed his best punch of the fight -- a solid
overhand right ­ but it barely halted the iron-chinned McCall's forward
progress.

McCall came out looking for the KO in the final round, but Williamson was
able to handle McCall's bombs and come back firing with his own, even with
his left eye almost swollen shut.

With the victory, Williamson, who was coming off a close technical decision
loss to Wladimir Klitschko in October, improves to 21-3 with 17 KOs. McCall
falls to 41-8 with 30 KOs.

Philly's Aaron "Homicide" Mitchell (22-1-1, 17 KOs) KO'ed Durham, North
Carolina's Carlton Holland (16-11-1, 8 KOs) in five fairly uneventful
rounds. A left hook put Holland down for the count at the 2:33 mark of the
round.

Bronx bantamweight Thomas McCuiston successfully entered the pro ranks with
a four round unanimous decision over Orlando's Samuel Rohena, who was also
making his debut. Scores were 40-36 twice and 39-36.

Junior middleweight prospect Yuri Foreman remained unbeaten with a two round
stoppage of North Carolina's Shakir Ashanti. Foreman (16-0, 7 KOs) put
Ashanti (15-9, 4 KOs) on the canvas in the first and second rounds, with the
second knockdown prompting an immediate referee's stoppage at the 1:07 mark.

In the light heavyweight opener, which kicked off at 6:05pm, Ukraine's
Oleksandr Garaschenko (13-8, 5 KOs) outpointed well-traveled Ron Boddie
(14-26-4, 6 KOs) over six rounds. All three judges' scorecards read 59-55.

A light heavyweight swing bout may have produced a future star in Kileen,
Texas' Marcus Johnson, who showed a varied array of skills and punching
power in dispatching of Baltimore's Mateen Haleem in three rounds. The end
came at 2:59. Johnson improves to 2-0 (2 KOs) and Haleem falls to 1-1 (1
KO).