Jake Paul’s quest for boxing legitimacy and PPV dollars continues this coming August when he faces off against what will unquestionably be his stiffest competition to date. Originally set to face off against Tommy Fury, Paul was left scrambling to find another scion of a boxing dynasty when Fury’s entry to the US was barred, due to his ties to notorious crime figure Daniel Kinahan.
In Fury’s place, steps 12-1 Hasim Rahman Jr., the son of former unified heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman. ‘The Rock’ won his belts in a massive upset over Lennox Lewis back in 2001, picking up the vacant interim WBC title again in a win over Monte Barrett in 2005. Shortly after his father’s retirement in 2014, Rahman Jr. started his own boxing career, running out an unbeaten 12-0 record before meeting up with 19-0 Kenzie Morrison (himself the son of former heavyweight champ Tommy Morrison). Rahman Jr. lost that bout via 5th round TKO.
That seems to have made Paul a perfect bounce-back opponent for the 31-year-old—especially given their past familiarity, since Rahman Jr. was one of the men Paul brought in for a previous training camp. Paul is 5-0 in his fledgling boxing career, and fresh off a pair of 2021 victories over former UFC champion Tyron Woodley. Rahman Jr. and the ‘Problem Child’ got their first chance to face off against one another publicly ahead of their August 6th Showtime PPV, at a July 12th press conference. Their past time in the gym was an immediate topic of conversation.
“I don’t know why they’re so worried. The fact that they keep on saying that’s a telltale sign, ‘Sparring isn’t fighting.’ Because you’re probably a little bit nervous about what happened.” Paul told the assembled media about their past sparring sessions.
“Under the lights, 10oz gloves, of course it’s different. That’s why I do this sport. I don’t do this sport to spar, I do this shit to fight…”
“Don’t turn your back and run like you did when we sparred.”
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) July 12, 2022
“And you ain’t fought nobody, everybody you’ve fought, it’s been their debut,” Rahman retorted.
“Don’t turn your back and run like you did when we sparred,” Rahman continued. “Don’t do that, and I will be using both hands.
“I only used one hand when I sparred him. He can’t even spar nobody with one hand, he’s not even at that level. I boxed this man with one hand tied behind my back, and I promise you he turned his back and ran from me.”
The two got into things again a short time later, and once again their past sparring session was the focus of the disagreement.
“How!?” Rahman responded, when Paul claimed he ‘got his ass beat’ when they faced off in the gym. “You in here jumping on top of turnbuckles, ‘AHHHHH!’ There’s no winning and losing in sparring, so what are you talking about?
“I was there to work with you, to actually help you get confidence to go against a guy that was 5’ 5” with no fights. So what are you talking about? And I still was handicapped, boxing you with one hand. Go watch the tape. I didn’t even use my right hand.” Rahman added, reiterating his claims that Paul’s camp made him work one-handed in their session.
— IFL TV (@IFLTV) July 12, 2022
“When I backed you in a corner, why did you turn your back and run? Why’d you turn around and run? Who runs in a boxing ring? You ran like you were at track.
“He’s a runner he’s a track star!” Rahman prodded, singing to Paul.
“Why you running in a boxing ring? Do you know how to box? Have you learned that yet? Have you learned that you can’t run yet? Have you learned that much yet, that you can’t be running in the ring? Did you learn that yet? It’s only been 18 months.”
Paul vs. Rahman Jr. takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY on August 6th. Alongside the cruiserweight main event, unified women’s featherweight champion Amanda Serrano will face off against Brenda Carabajal in a 10-round contest. No other bouts have been announced for the card.
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