Hasim Rahman Jr has blamed Jake Paul over their now cancelled fight after a dispute over weight, maintaining he does not want to fight a real boxer.
YouTube star Paul is 5-0 as a professional boxer and was due to take on Rahman Jr – son of former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman – on 6 August at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Paul accused Rahman Jr of being unprofessional after attempting to change the contract weight on multiple occasions.
But Rahman replied, pinning the blame on Paul: “Jake and his ‘team’ cancelled this fight, not me! The fight isn’t happening on their accord not MINE! I'm a bridgerweight, otherwise known as heavyweight outside the WBC, I signed the contract to make 200 lbs in the three weeks, but my body wouldn't let me do it.
“Where in boxing do you see them cancel fights a week in advance? There are penalties involved, I'll fight you for the $5,000 minimum. I'd beat this man with one hand, just like I did in the gym. He said he beat my arse at 230, so what's the problem fighting me at 215 or 210, it's clearly them not wanting to fight, it's them not wanting the fight.
“I never said I didn't want this fight. I conclude they're scared, they tried to drain me down. I told them I couldn't get all the way down to cruiserweight, it's an astronomical feat, I'd have to lose a pound per day over 30 days to make 200 lbs.
“Still, if I didn't make the weight, we had a replacement on the side, the Muslim boxer, Muhsin Cason, he campaigns at cruiserweight, he didn't need to drain himself, he could have saved the show. But he doesn't want to fight a real fight, a real boxer, he wanted to drain me down and fight a shell of me. I’m not going to let him do that.”
A statement released by 25-year-old Paul's company Most Valuable Promotions read: “On July 5, Hasim Rahman Jr signed a bout agreement to fight Jake Paul on Aug 6 at Madison Square Garden at a maximum weight of 200 pounds. At the time of signing, Rahman provided evidence of his weight to give comfort to Most Valuable Promotions and the New York State Athletic Commission that he would not be losing more than 10 percent of his weight over the four weeks leading up to the fight.
“Since weighing in at 216 pounds on July 7, Rahman and his camp have offered assurance after assurance publicly and privately that he was on track to make weight at the weigh-in on Aug 5, going as far as to provide a letter signed by a recognized nutritionist that his weight cut was progressing without issue per New York State Athletic Commission’s required weekly weight checks. In the last 48 hours, it has become clear that these assurances were not made in good faith."
The statement continued: “On Friday [29 July], Rahman submitted a weight check to the New York State Athletic Commission that demonstrated he had lost less than one pound since originally signing to take the fight 24 days prior. This prompted the commission to declare that it would not sanction the fight at less than 205 pounds. Still, Jake Paul was prepared to move forward with the fight at this new weight and a new contract was sent to Rahman’s promoter reflecting a 205-pound limit, imposing strict penalties should he fail to make weight. Upon receiving this new contract Saturday morning, Rahman’s camp indicated for the very first time that he planned to weigh 215 pounds at the official weigh-in and would not agree to weigh in at 205 pounds and informing Most Valuable Promotions that they are pulling out of the fight unless the fight was agreed to at 215 pounds.
“MVP and Jake Paul will not reward someone that has conducted themselves in such a deceiving and calculated manner. Therefore, MVP is left with no choice but to cancel the Aug 6 event. This forced outcome impacts Jake Paul, Amanda Serrano and every other fighter on this card who have trained tirelessly over the past few months for this event. The boxing community must hold Hasim Rahman Jr. liable for his lack of professionalism. There has been endless work, time and money put into building this event and we want to thank our team, Showtime, Madison Square Garden, Holden Boxing and all of our partners for their continued support. Above everything, we want to thank our fans for their commitment to the athletes and the sport of boxing.”
Unified women’s featherweight champion Amanda Serrano was set to compete on the card, with Paul having been scheduled to headline against Rahman Jr, who had stepped in after Tommy Fury’s withdrawal this month.
Fury, half-brother of WBC heavyweight champion Tyson, was originally set to face Paul in December but withdrew from that scheduled contest while citing injury and illness. The fight was rearranged for 6 August, but the Briton pulled out again – this time due to travel issues that reportedly prevented Fury, 23, from entering the US.