Hasim Rahman Jr has denied he will take a dive when he faces Jake Paul after replacing Tommy Fury for next month's fight.
The heavyweight will take on Paul at Madison Square Garden in what is the YouTuber's toughest test since turning professional in 2020. He has a 12-1 record, and knows Paul from a pair of sparring sessions they engaged in during the build-up to Paul's early fights with AnEsonGib and Nate Robinson two years ago.
And some fans have theorised that Rahman will be paid a career-high purse so that he takes a fall against the YouTuber, ensuring that his record is padded. The fighter has laughed off this suggestion, and indicated he will in fact be making less than any of the five men who have faced Paul to this point.
"Y'all sound so stupid," he told fans who suggested he was going to be paid to take a dive during an Instagram Live stream yesterday. "He's barely paying me to begin with, so what the f***? I ain't doing this for the money.
"I'm getting the least amount any Jake opponent ever got, so what are y'all talking about 'he's paying me'? Stop it, stop it, this whole fantasy land you little Jake trolls are living in, that s*** is over with, war Rahman we on some real. Bunch of f***ing YouTuber fans, you're about to get something so crazy Inshallah - they look at my last fight, they look at sparring, they can look at whatever. When this killer gets in there, oh yeah, it's going to get real."
Paul has shown visible improvement since sparring Rahman Jr and has moved to 5-0 as a professional while stopping his four opponents in the paid ranks. And it appears that the spars between the two were heated affairs, with footage being released of Rahman seemingly going off on Paul after one of the sessions.
The YouTube star shared video of the encounter to Instagram yesterday, insisting that it has stayed with him and made him keen to get in the ring with his rival. "I’ve wanted this fight ever since Hasim ran his big mouth to me two years ago in the gym," Paul said in a lengthy Instagram post captioning the video. "My brother and manager didn’t want me to take this fight. They said it was too much risk.
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"The New York State Athletic Commission didn’t want to approve this fight because they said Hasim had too much experience for me. He has over 100 amateur fights. 10x more than Tommy, but I'm built different." Paul can be heard saying that he "knows when someone is up to something," in the footage, which angers Rahman. "You want to talk s*** to a pro athlete?" he responds. "Because I'm really about to come in here and knock your a** out. That's what I'm going to do."