Hasim Rahman Jr.’s path to a boxing match with Jake Paul came rather irregularly.
The 31-year-old makes for Paul’s fifth opponent in what will be the YouTube star’s sixth professional boxing appearance. For Rahman Jr. (12-1 as a pro, 9-12 as an amateur, according to BoxingRec), he’s no stranger to Paul as the two have previously sparred together.
Now, they’ll square off on Aug. 6, 2022, in Madison Square Garden. However, that wasn’t Rahman Jr.’s original expectation when beginning to hear rumblings of the bout offer.
“It was a little shady,” Rahman Jr. told MMA Fighting on The MMA Hour. “His coach called me, and he’s asking me how much I weigh, how I’m feeling about my last fight, what I’ve been doing in the gym, how much I’ve been sparring ... but he was asking me under the pretense that I would come in and spar Jake as a Southpaw for the Anderson Silva [fight].
“I’m thinking they’re about to call me back and get me on a flight to Puerto Rico to help them out for Anderson,” he added. “An hour later, I get a call saying they want to fight. So all those questions were really trying to line me up to fight me. It was never a sparring situation.”
Hoping to weigh his options a bit as he asked for a couple of hours to think, the pressure was then placed upon Rahman Jr.
“No, you have to respond within 45 minutes, before the top of the hour, or the offer’s off, and you’ll never get the opportunity to fight Jake Paul again,” he said of Team Paul’s response.
Rahman Jr. will be the first “official” boxer who Paul has fought in the social media star’s young career. Paul’s first two fights were defined by most as “celebrity boxing matches,” taking on the likes of fellow YouTuber, Ali “AnEsonGib” Loui Al-Fakri, and former National Basketball Association (NBA) player, Nate Robinson. Paul then fought and defeated former mixed martial arts (MMA) Welterweight champions, Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley.
Tommy Fury appeared to be the likely next challenger for Paul, but visa issues prevented the Brit from making the trip overseas. Rahman Jr. highlighted his contract for the upcoming 200-pound bout stated that he’ll lose 25 percent of his pay for every pound he misses weight by — four pounds being the maximum allowance he can weigh over by, therefore, leaving him at just a $5,000 payout. A potential win bonus was not mentioned, but he added that he won’t be getting any pay-per-view (PPV) points.
So, sorry, Jake. There isn’t much incentive to help sell the event.
“They are that scared that they want to put that much pressure on me to make the weight to say you’re going to lose 25 percent for every pound you’re over,” Rahman Jr. said. “You can’t put anything past anybody in this business.
“I don’t care how many PPVs it sells because I’m getting zero percent of the PPVs anyways,” he concluded. “How is it my job to help you sell the fight? You wanted 100 percent of the PPV so you sell 100 percent. Do your thing, keep buying followers, keep putting this facade out there like you’re this big deal.”