Jake Paul's new opponent Hasim Rahman Jr predicted he would stop the YouTube star in the first round after they sparred two years ago.
The heavyweight, whose dad is famous former champion Hasim Rahman, was drafted in to work with Paul early in his professional career and sparred with him twice. The pair first moved around ahead of his debut against fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib before a "night and day" change for his second bout with basketball star Nate Robinson months later.
But despite giving Paul credit for his abilities early on, Rahman did say during a 2020 interview that if the pair were to ever actually fight, it would be a handy night at the office. At the time, the son-of-a-legend was 8-0, and he has since improved that to 12-1, while Paul is 5-0.
Asked if he would be willing to step in the ring with either of Jake or his brother Logan by Sky Sports, Rahman said he would "absolutely" love to get involved in a YouTuber fight. And he is set to be granted his wish today when Tommy Fury is officially ruled out of his fight with Paul, and replaced by the American.
"I would feel like I'd be representing boxing at that point," Rahman said of a prospective fight. "I would try my best not to let them out of the first minute, if they want entertainment that's fine. I would put my money on the fight ending in the first round, I wouldn't say the first minute. I would feel kind of embarrassed if I let him out of the first round, I have to hold it down for boxing at that point. I'd be saying 'ref, he don't belong in here with me, so get him out of there'. That's the type of mentality I'd be coming in with."
He has frequently shown respect for the younger Paul brother in more recent times. And he recently told fans on Twitter that he predicted that in the originally planned fight, Fury would be stopped.
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But he will have a chance to make a name for himself on a major stage when he moves from the 4,500-capacity Virgin Hotels Theatre in Las Vegas to the main arena at Madison Square Garden. Rahman is Paul's first real test against a "real boxer", and generally campaigns at heavyweight.
He will have to drop a considerable amount of weight within the next four weeks to get in Paul's cruiserweight vicinity. But Mirror Fighting understands that he will be granted a minor weight allowance in order to get the fight deal over the line.
Rahman most recently tipped the scales at 224lb for his fight with McKenzie Morrison, to whom he lost his first fight by TKO in the fifth. He has weighed in as heavy as 269lb during his career, but seems to walk around closer to 240lb, and he could make the WBC's 'bridgerweight' class if Paul were willing to allow it.