YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul’s return to the ring is set for next month, but it seemingly wasn’t without some extra hurdles.
“Hurdles” is an accurate word to sum up the journey towards Paul’s August 6 bout. Since initially teasing his sixth professional boxing match, fans have seen opponent speculation turn into confirmation, and then back to speculation.
And after planned opponent Tommy Fury was apparently denied entry into the US last week, “The Problem Child” was left searching for a short-notice foe for the second time in eight months, the first of which was also caused by a Fury withdrawal.
While the December instance led to prior opponent Tyron Woodley stepping in for a rematch, this time, pro-boxer Hasim Rahman Jr. has answered the call and will share the squared circle with Paul inside Madison Square Garden on SHOWTIME pay-per-view.
Rahman Jr, son of the former boxing heavyweight champion, turned pro after over 100 amateur fights. He’s since won 12 of his 13 contests, six via knockout. But in his last outing, the 31-year-old suffered a TKO loss at the hands of James McKenzie Morrison, who represented Rahman Jr.’s first opponent who entered the bout on a win streak.
But despite the reservations of some when it comes to the quality of Paul’s first pro-boxer opponent, the online star claims they struggled to get the bout past the commission owing to Rahman Jr.’s experience.
Paul: “The Odds Are Stacked Against Me”
During an interview with ESPN following the announcement of his new August 6 matchup, Paul discussed the process in securing a new opponent who fitted a similar bill to the withdrawn Fury.
Attempting to give context to what he perceives to be an uphill battle for him on paper, Paul claimed that the New York State Athletic Commission were skeptical about allowing Paul to fight Rahman Jr. at this stage of his career.
“The New York State Athletic Commission barely approved this fight,” Paul said. “When Nakisa [Bidarian] told them, they were like, ‘Hasim has too much experience for Jake, are you sure about this?’ Nakisa had to make them feel comfortable with it. So, the odds are stacked against me, and that’s what I love.”
Paul has built a 5-0 record since venturing in-between the ropes. After getting past fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib and former NBA star Nate Robinson, “The Problem Child” moved onto his first combat sports-based opponent.
Having knocked former ONE and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren out in one round last April, Paul’s competition increased, this time in the shape of former UFC welterweight titleholder Tyron Woodley.
While the pair’s first bout last August went the distance, with Paul collecting a split-decision win, their short-notice rematch four months later concluded with “The Chosen One” unconscious on the canvas courtesy of a brutal right hand.
Paul now has his sights set on his first professional boxer, and will be hoping to extend his unblemished record to 6-0 and further legitimize his in-ring career.
Who do you think will have their hand raised on August, Jake Paul or Hasim Rahman Jr.?