Hasim Rahman Jr. still can’t understand how he’s left without a fight this weekend.
The 31-year-old claimed to have been caught off guard when learning of the news that his scheduled August 6 clash with Jake Paul was canceled. As first reported by BoxingScene.com, the Showtime Pay-Per-View event endured a late change when the New York State Athletic Commission demanded an increase in the maximum contracted limit to 205 pounds from the agreed upon 200-pound mark.
The decision was made after Rahman (12-1, 6KOs) was stuck at 215 pounds just one week from fight night. The commission required weekly weight checks after the Las Vegas-based fighter agreed to the fight on just four weeks’ notice, and made their ruling by Saturday morning. Paul (5-0, 4KOs)—who’d never weighed more than 191¾ pounds as a pro—was fine with the modified weight, though not with Rahman’s insistence of raising the limit to 2015 pounds. He now claims it was a negotiating ploy, attempting to get Paul to meet him in the middle—and that he could still honor the commission ruling should the fight somehow make its way back to the schedule.
“I can make 205 Friday and knock Jake Paul out on Saturday,” Rahman vowed during a Zoom conference call with a small group of reporters Sunday evening. “That's never been an issue. The issue was them coming in and giving all these demands from the jump. They've been trying to railroad it from the jump.”
Rahman accepted the fight on roughly four weeks’ notice, stepping in after England’s Tommy Fury (8-0, 4KOs) was denied a travel visa to the United States. It was announced at the time that the fight would take place at 200 pounds, though always at the discretion of the commission over concern of Rahman making a limit he’d never weighed during his pro career. The son of former lineal heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman Sr. has not fought lower than 211¾ pounds, which came in a four-round win over Damion Reed in December 2018. He was 224½ pounds in a fifth-round stoppage loss to James McKenzie Morrison in their April 29 clash of unbeaten, second-generation heavyweights.
Rahman’s weight at the time of agreeing to all terms for the fight depends on which story is believed. Rahman told reporters that he was in the high 220s when beginning to train specifically for this fight, while Paul and his team contend that he was 216 pounds at the first weight check and dropped just one pound in three weeks.
The demand of a 215-pound limit from Rahman as the B-side was enough for Paul to walk away from the fight altogether. Showtime formally announced the event being canceled this past Saturday, less than 90 minutes prior to a live tripleheader from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
According to Rahman, the declaration came while there was still time on the clock.
“We have the email here saying, 'You have until 11:59 [to agree to the 205-pound limit] or we're gonna scrap the fight,” insisted Rahman. “They didn't do that. They scrapped the fight at 8:07. This opportunity was taken away from me.
“I think that Jake realizes how much trouble he was in. I don't know if he is willing to do it. If two fighters are willing to do that, there shouldn't be any problems.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox