This one is a puzzler. Jake Paul, who only took up boxing in 2018, as a side hustle thing, versus Hasim Rahman Jr, who is 12-1 as a pro, and started boxing as a young teen, with aspirations to make the 2012 US Olympic squad.
You Paul people who follow along know that Tommy Fury had the gig, that planners had come back to Tyson’s half brother and re-set a planned clash (for Dec. 18, 2021) with the master button pusher Paul, who owns a 5-0 record as a pro fighter. The re-set went the way of the first planned Paul v Fury clash, it went off the rails. Because Fury is on the Kinahan S**tlist…Or because he’s so overweight he didn’t think he could carve down to make the 200 pound limit for the August 6 Saturday night date at Madison Square Garden, the big room? That’s for him to say, if he chooses to. (He's already responded to a charge from his own father that he was not in training and excessively blown up for the MSG assignment.)
Back to Rahman…The announcement of this tango made me scratch my head, because, hello, I’ve seen Rahman fight before, and even if he’s not a chip off the dad block—papa Hasim was a high grade heavyweight in the 90s-2000s—he certainly is grounded enough in the basics to be able to handle Jake Paul, who has power but not the experience to be able to beat a fighter is who isn’t an MMA guy, or an ex NBA guy. Isn’t he?
You’ve seen and heard the reactions to this opponent switch. There are plenty of folks wondering if the fix is in. Let’s be up front about that—I don’t care for or condone speculating in casual fashion about such a topic.
It’s a sign of the times we are in, severely cynical times where peoples’ trust factor for institutions and norms are in the gutter. From churches to politicians to …well, everything and everyone it seems is fair game to be put under a microscope, have their motivations and behavior scrutinized. Ah, but I will confess this. I too have wondered the same thing. Is that fair to Hasim Rahman Jr? Likely not, but pondering whether his paycheck depends on his taste for true competition, on the level engagement speaks to the state of the collective psyche, not his character.
I will choose to assume that no, no fix is in, that Rahman possesses pride and character and will do his level best on August 6 to hand the social media manipulater extraordinaire Jake Paul his first BoxRec L.
The main eventers did a press conference on Tuesday, to hype the Showtime PPV affair, which also includes an Amanda Serrano vs Brenda Carabajal (click here to see Carabajal Boxrec) match.
This was the first time Jake Paul hyped himself versus a REAL boxer. Rahman Jr., trained by Zab’s dad Yoel Judah, is 12-1 with 6 knockouts, and had maybe 100 amateur fights.
Serrano returns to MSG for the second time this year, in April she helped fill the joint and engaged in a fan-friendly lightweight rumble with Irish stalwart Katie Taylor. The Puerto Rican-Brooklynite puts her featherweight titles on the line against Argentine “La Pumita” Carabajal.
Word was that Paul and the 31 year old Rahman know each other from sparring sessions, before Jake’s stems from sparring sessions they had before Jake Paul fought YouTube boxer Ali Gib (TKO1W) and ex NBAer Nate Robinson (KO2W) in 2020. How’d those spar sessions go? Depends on who’s talking or who did the edit on the footage you saw….
Rahman noted that Jake Paul hasn’t fought “real” talents. “That’s why your next on the list,” the 25 year old countered. “That’s why I’m fighting you.” Hasim Rahman the elder looked on as the young guns traded barbs.
“You’re not in the ring sir,” Paul said to The Rock, who fought from 1994-2014 and holds a shocker win over ATG Lennox Lewis, in 2001. “And that’s what your son doesn’t understand. He thinks he’s you and that’s his biggest mistake and on August 6 I’m ending the legacy that your whole family has.”
Paul does a swell job at leaning into criticism he receives, and minimizing it by controlling the context in which it is brought up. “He’s going to get beat up by a singer, a musician, a seashell collector, an amateur, a Disney boy, a YouTuber, I’m all of these things,” said the fighter, who also wears the hat of promoter, his company reps the 33 year old Serrano, a top pound for pounder on the ladies’ side. “I beat him in sparring and he knows that too. We have the footage.”
Jake Paul was asked about the fallout fight. “This is 100 percent a tougher fight (than facing Tommy Fury). This is what I do. I take hard challenges and challenge myself more and more and increase the level of opposition and give the fans what they want. People say fight a real boxer – here we go,” he stated. “This guy is bigger than me, he has more experience. There’s no reason that I should win this but I’m proving to the world and proving to the kids out there that if you truly put your mind to something and you’re dedicated, then you will win.”
Rahman Jr understands that he is on paper the stiffest test Jake Paul will have faced. “I’m the one giving you credibility. None of your other opponents gave you any credibility,” he said. “I’m here to end this façade that he’s calling a career so we’re going to see on August 6th Jake Paul fall. You’re definitely going to see that.”
Their sparring came up, too. “I will be using both hands on August 6. I only used one hand when I sparred him,” the son of the ex heavyweight champ stated. “He can’t even spar anyone with one hand. He’s not even on my level. I boxed this man with one hand behind my back and I promise you he turned his back and ran from me…He’s definitely barking up the wrong tree. I’m going to mess you up.”
Now, there is not a shortage of amateur pundits who think Jake Paul is rightly seen as the favorite coming in, in certain circles, because they saw Rahman Jr look mediocre in his last bout. “I think that I haven’t reached my full potential yet,” Rahman said, “and that I can definitely have performed better in all of my fights, so on August 6 we’re going to come fully prepared.”
On April 29, Rahman Jr fought Kenzie Morrison, a son of ex high level heavyweight Tommy Morrison. Tommy’s kid stopped Hasim’s kid in round five of their scheduled ten-round tussle, and Rahman Jr didn’t look superlative before the stoppage.
He weighed 224 for that one, but says he will carve off the poundage to make cruiser, now worries. He’s been as high as 269 pounds, according to BoxRec, for a Feb. 2021 win over 1-8 Alejandro de la Torre in Mexico. “I’m not worried about the weight,” Rahman Jr said. “I was just in camp for a fight and then I got right back into the gym. The weight is not a factor. I’ve fought at 200 pounds for years in the amateurs, so losing the weight is exciting for me. It will open some doors for me in the boxing ring.”
Hasim the elder got asked his thoughts on his son’s opportunity: “I’m excited like everyone else. I just don’t know how I’m going to feel when Jake’s 100 million fans hate my son (when he beats him). They’re going to hate him,” said the 49 year old who reps Baltimore, Maryland. “I think he’s been disrespectful (looking past my son) because – Jake Paul is a real fighter and we respect that. I just think that he’s moving too quick. I think he picked the wrong guy at the wrong time.”
Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza painted this promotion as a testament to Jake’s identity as an athlete.“Strip away his celebrity status and his success as a content creator and what he’s striving for is no different than any other professional boxer,” Espinoza said. “It’s no different from what Hasim Rahman is striving for – for credibility and respect, working to improve his skills and to put it all on the line on one night in front of a massive crowd here at The Garden….What Jake Paul is doing is remarkable. But more importantly, you can’t call what he’s doing a hobby or a fad or a stunt. This is a full-time profession for Jake, a full commitment, boxing is now his calling card and No. 1 pursuit.”