End of the Line for Rachman

By Derek Bonnett: George Bernard Shaw conveyed to us that often youth is wasted on the young. At times when an individual is most replete with his youth, he is also lacking valuable experience or knowledge to put it to its best use. In turn, once the individual has acquired copious experience and knowledge, he is often left without the physical tools of youth to apply what he has learned. It is one of the many unfortunate paradoxes of life. However, there is a happy medium, or balance between youth and experience, which occurs in one’s prime.

In boxing, those prime years are hard to gauge with foresight. When will they commence? When will they conclude? Regrettably, once a fighter’s prime years are over, this reality can be painfully obvious. So is the case with former IBF minimumweight champion Muhammad Rachman of Indonesia. After nearly two decades of professional boxing and amassing a record of 62-10-5 (31), Rachman has now lost five of his last six bouts, which includes a current four fight slide.

On January 24, almost 18 years to the day that Rachman turned professional, the former champion dropped a six round decision to Samartlek Chaiyonggym, a mere neophyte now with a record of 4-1 (1). Chaiyonggym was not exceptional in victory, but the youthful prospect was able to pull the trigger and land more significant blows than his 39 year old nemesis.

Rachman’s place in Indonesian boxing history is secured. Along with Ellyas Pical, Nico Thomas, and, currently reigning, Chris John, Rachman is one of four Indonesian male boxers to earn the distinction of world champion.
Rachman defeated reputable strawweights such as Thomas, Angky Angkota, and Noel Tunacao on his climb up the strawweight ladder. In September of 2004, Rachman edged Daniel Reyes by split decision to become IBF minimumweight champion. He made three successful defenses of his title including a sixth round KO of Omar Soto before dropping a close decision to Florante Condes. In his most recent victory, Rachman decisioned Edrin Dapudong in June of 2008. Dapudong now ranks as a fringe contender at flyweight.

Rachman earned the name "The Rock Breaker" after defeating Ernesto "Hard Rock" Rubillar in 2003; he is also known as "Predator". In seventy-seven bouts, Rachman was only stopped once by the hands of top-ranked Denver Cuello in his immediate bout before losing to Chaiyonggym.
Rachman has already fought long past the shelf life of most lighter weight fighters. As he nears forty, his legacy stands strong among his country’s greatest athletes and it is doubtful further competition will enhance his ledger given his performance recent outings. "The Rock Breaker" has succumbed to the youth of Milan Melindo, 22, Cuello, 24, and Chaiyonggym, 26, and need not continue to lead the next generation into their primes with his vast ring experience.

For further boxing discussion, contact Derek Bonnett on Facebook or at mabfan@comcast.net.
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