YouTube star Paul is 5-0 as a professional boxer and has knocked out each man he has faced. The 25-year-old is set to enter the ring again on 6 August, taking on Rahman Jr at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Rahman Jr (12-1, 6 knockouts) is a former sparring partner of Paul and is stepping in for Tommy Fury, who has now twice withdrawn from fights with the YouTuber. Rahman Jr is also the son of former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman.
“It was a little shady,” Rahman Jr said on The MMA Hour, detailing how his upcoming fight with Paul came together. “His coach called me, and he’s asking me how much I weigh, how I’m feeling about my last fight, what I’ve been doing in the gym, how much I’ve been sparring.
“But he was asking me under the pretence that I would come in and spar Jake as a southpaw for the Anderson Silva [fight]. I’m thinking they’re about to call me back and get me on a flight to Puerto Rico to help them out for Anderson.
“An hour later, I get a call saying they want to fight. So, all those questions were really trying to line me up to fight me. It was never a sparring situation.”
Paul had been rumoured to be facing former UFC champion Silva next time out, before a second attempt in six months was made to arrange a bout with Fury – half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson. Fury, 23, withdrew from a scheduled December clash with Paul due to illness and injury, and this time around he cited travel issues for his withdrawal.
Rahman Jr also discussed the time pressure placed on him to agree to a fight with Paul. The 31-year-old claimed Paul’s team had said: “‘You have to respond within 45 minutes, before the top of the hour, or the offer’s off, and you’ll never get the opportunity to fight Jake Paul again.’”
Rahman Jr also said he must forfeit 25 per cent of his fight purse for each pound that he comes in overweight, should that happen.
“They are that scared that they want to put that much pressure on me to make the weight, to say: ‘You’re going to lose 25 per cent for every pound you’re over.’”