Hasim Rahman Jr. denied strong-arming Jake Paul for more money in the hours before Tuesday’s press conference promoting their short-notice headliner at Madison Square Garden.
Rahman Jr., however, didn’t deny he was upset with his contracted compensation for the Aug. 6 fight, claiming he’ll be the lowest-paid Paul opponent. He also accused the former YouTuber of trying to stack the deck against him with a rehydration clause that limits him to 210 pounds on fight-night.
“This is such a huge opportunity,” Rahman Jr. said at the press conference held at Madison Square Garden. “I never once, ever once even second-guessed or even doubted the outcome of this fight. I did no negotiation through the internet, and I’m not going to, but whatever they sent me, they sent me and they said, ‘Look, this is take it or leave it. Either you take it, or you leave it, or there’s no fight.’ So I took it, and that’s that, and we’re here now.
“All this BS about going back and forth .... about the money or whatever, I’m going to be the lowest-paid opponent, but I’m the one that’s giving you any credibility. None of your other opponents gave you any credibility, so why shouldn’t I get more than them? But like I said, I’m not here to negotiate through the media, I’m not here to do none of that. I’m here to end this facade that he calls a career. So we going to see on Aug. 6 when Jake Paul falls.”
Paul on Monday claimed the Aug. 6 bout was in jeopardy when Rahman Jr.’s agents demanded a huge raise after signing the initial contract. The New York State Athletic Commission, which will regulate the fight, does not make public fighter contracts or official salaries.
“Hasim Rahman Jr., actually right now, is trying to renegotiate his contract,” Paul said. “So he signed a contract last week for 10 times more than he’s ever been paid for any one of his fights, and now — boom, fast-forward one week — he’s trying to renegotiate, he’s trying to suck more money out of the fight, he’s trying to do anything he can to claw and make the money, because I think he realizes the consequences of what might happen.”
A former Paul sparring partner, Rahman Jr. welcomed the chance to humble Paul and get back in the win column after suffering the first pro loss of his career to Kenzie Morrison in April. The son of heavyweight boxing champ Hasim Rahman joked it was “almost like I’m fighting amateur now” in fighting the 5-0 Paul, who has less than half his 12-1 pro record and no amateur career opposite his 21-bout ledger.
Rahman Jr. dismissed weight as a concern moving from his official weight of 224 pounds for his previous fight to 200 pounds – where he hasn’t fought since his amateur career – against Paul.
Paul got Rahman in on the act early, interrupting him during his first remarks. The former heavyweight champ loudly reminded the audience of the rehydration clause as Paul goaded him into several verbal exchanges.
Rahman Jr. claimed footage from a previous sparring session with Paul, released after he was confirmed as a backup opponent for Tommy Fury, was edited unfavorably and left out the social media star turning and running in the ring. Paul said his team had footage that proved otherwise.
Rahman Jr. claimed Paul’s coaches had told him not to fight his normal southpaw stance and he’d only been allowed to use his left hand in sparring sessions.
“That’s all they do,” he said. “‘Look Rock, don’t do this, don’t switch southpaw.’ Don’t sit here and say you don’t, because when I spar you, you do the same thing. It’s always a handicap. It’s a handicap in here.”
“You try to bring me down to cruiserweight, and then put a rehydration clause in the contract, don’t forget about none of that,” he added later. “That was take it or leave it.”
“Sounds like you’re making excuses,” said Paul. “You’ll be 215 on night of fight, and I’ll be 195.”
“You don’t know how much I’m going to weight on the night of fight,” Rahman Jr. shot back.
And, Paul’s sixth pro opponent added, he would be using both hands this time.
“I’m going to f*** you up,” Rahman Jr. declared.