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Rahman pledges 'something special'

NIAGARA FALLS — How many fans will come out to see Hasim Rahman fight in the Conference Center is a mystery that won't be solved until later Saturday evening.

But those in attendance — some who likely will be seeing a former two-time world heavyweight champion fight in person for the first time — have received Rahman's word that he'll put on a show, a brief one.

"They want to see something special and I'm aiming to please," said the 260-pound Rahman, who will face Shannon Miller (16-4, 9 KOs) in a 10-round main event on the seven-fight card at the Conference Center.

"It's all a big responsibility because I owe the fans something. ... I want them to see I'm serious about regaining some stature in the heavyweight division. It's going to be something special. I'm not coming in there to go 10 rounds. ... I'm going in there to put a hurt on somebody."

That somebody, Miller, will have a rooting section since this will be the biggest fight of the Troy native's career. This will be Miller's third fight since being KO'd by unbeaten Tonawanda heavyweight Joe Mesi in the first round three years ago.

Miller missed some time after being headbutted in a fight and had a few other potential bouts fall through simply because of boxing being boxing.

Miller has fought on television, however, as the 36-year-old, 234-pounder was part of the bout selected by ESPN as one of its top fights in 2005. He dropped that brawling decision in five rounds to Vinny Maddalone but was ahead on the scorecards before the fight was stopped in the fifth round.

A win over Rahman (46-7-2, 37 KOs) would be just the thing Miller needs to rejuvenate his career.

"A win here propels me to fights that become life changing in terms of money," Miller said. "It's an opportunity very few people get."

There will be a local presence on the undercard, which begins at 7:30 p.m.

Former state Golden Gloves champion Lionellcq Thompson of Buffalo (2-0, 1 KO) faces Jesse Lewis (0-1) in a four-round light heavyweight bout.

Niagara Falls heavyweight Johnnie Davis (1-0) meets Montreal's Taffo Asongmed (0-3), while Buffalo junior middleweight Andrew Jones makes his debut against Delen Parsley (2-0, 2 KOs). Tickets are still available at championsofboxing.com and the Conference Center.

Other bouts include junior middleweight Cecil McCalla (11-0, 4 KOs) taking on Brad Hill (11-12, 9 KOs), Hastings Bwalya (3-0, 2 KOs) against welterweight Ruben Galvan (27-13-4, 10 KOs), and former Canadian Olympian Donnie Orr (15-0, 6 KOs) battles middleweight John Mackey (11-5-2, 5 KOs) in the eight-round co-feature.

Thompson returns to the ring for the first time since last November. While the seven-month layoff is shorter than the nine-month one he endured after his pro debut, Thompson has kept up his fight preparation regimen, and trainer Don Patterson said the plan is to start getting the 24-year-old into the ring more often in the future.

"We'll be accelerating things," Patterson said. "Now is the time when we have to start moving because it's a young man's game."

"I'm just being patient," Thompson said. "I know my time will come."

mrodriguez@buffnews.com

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