Associated Press - March 9, 2004
GLEN BURNIE, Md. (AP) - Playing the part of Ernie Terrell in the 2001 movie ``Ali,'' boxer Al ``Ice'' Cole was required to be a victim in the ring.
Going up against Will Smith, who played the title role, Cole did everything but close his eyes and stick out his chin.
``I had to do some mistakes I was never taught to do and never wanted to do, like dropping my hands and not moving,'' Cole recalled. ``Ernie Terrell
did not move in the ring.''
On Thursday night, Cole is again expected to play the role of meek adversary when he faces former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman in a 10-round
bout. The plot calls for Rahman, a native of Baltimore, to take the first step toward reclaiming the crown by pounding Cole into submission before a
zealous hometown crowd.
But Cole has no intention of playing along.
``I know everyone is expecting Rock to have a great comeback, but I'm here to tell you it won't be,'' Cole said Tuesday.
Cole, a former cruiserweight champion, has won only twice since June 2002. He attributes his poor showing to a lack of training; he said twice he
stepped into the ring after receiving only 10 days notice.
``That was a mistake,'' he said. ``I've done my homework. This time they've given me a month to prepare.''
Still, the 39-year-old Cole is a decided underdog against Rahman, who figures he's only about three wins away from regaining the title.
``I feel I will be the heavyweight champion in 2004, and it starts Thursday,'' Rahman said.
Not if Cole (34-12-3) can help it.
``He's been there, and I understand that,'' Cole said. ``But he'd better not look past me.''
Rahman (35-5-1) can't afford to look past anyone, given that he hasn't won a bout since his stunning knockout of Lennox Lewis on April 22, 2001.
Fighting in a ballroom in a Baltimore suburb is quite a comedown from Atlantic City, Las Vegas and The Spectrum in Philadelphia, but his philosophy is
that you've got to start somewhere.
``I have no problem fighting in Las Vegas or Atlantic City,'' he said. ``But I didn't want to wait six or eight months to fight there. I don't really
see that big a difference. A fight is a fight; the fighters make the fight, not the location. If I have my way, I'll be fighting for the heavyweight
title here in Baltimore.''
[Edited on 10-3-2004 by Ocelot]