Renowned boxing trainer Teddy Atlas has given his assessment of the failed matchup between Jake Paul and Hasim Rahman Jr.
On August 6, Paul was set to face the stiffest test of his blossoming career inside the ring to date in the form of his first pro-boxer opponent. But just a week before the scheduled clash, slated for Madison Square Garden in New York City, the bout was scrapped.
After it became clear that Rahman Jr. couldn’t make the initial 200-pound limit or the subsequently agreed 205-pound weight and following a request for the fight to be boosted 10 pounds to 215, Paul and his team chose to cancel the event entirely.
Since the announcement, both sides have accused each other of bringing the card down, with fans appearing somewhat split in their consensus. Whilst some have backed Paul’s decision owing to Rahman Jr.’s failure to meet the contracted requirements, others have accused the YouTuber-turned-boxer of unreasonable demands.
Now, well-known boxing coach and commentator Atlas has given his assessment of the debate, and it makes for grim reading for the heavyweight pro and his team.
Atlas Slams Rahman Jr. For Accepting Paul Fight
During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Atlas looked to provide an objective take on the canceled matchup, which came after Paul’s original opponent, Tommy Fury, also withdrew from the planned August 6 event.
First, the 66-year-old answered those who claim that Paul was looking to level the playing field by forcing Rahman Jr. to undergo a rigorous weight cut. While he noted that the former Disney star was doing exactly that, Atlas insisted that there was nothing wrong with such a strategy given that Paul represented the A-side of the matchup.
“There’s a lot of haters out there that are gonna say that, ‘Jake Paul was scared, he was running scared,'” Atlas said. “Yes, Jake Paul was asking Rahman, who fought his last fight at 224 pounds, to come down close to his weight. Was he looking for an advantage? Damn right he was.
“It’s business. Same reason why Canelo is asking GGG (Gennady Golovkin), telling GGG, that he’s gotta fight at 168. Because Canelo makes the money. He’s the golden goose. Guess what? In this world of these kind of fights right now, Jake Paul is the golden goose,” Atlas continued. “Was Paul trying to level the playing field? … Yeah! He’s not stupid.”
With that in mind, Atlas concluded that the blame firmly lies with Rahman Jr. and his team, who he believes were “greedy” by agreeing to the payday without assessing the cut he’d have to undergo to meet the agreed-upon weight.
“It’s up to Rahman and his people, when they’re offered this offer of making 200 when they were 224 in the last fight, of saying yay or nay,” Atlas noted. “They were greedy, they wanted the money, and they said yes before they thought it out.
“Then, once the reality started to strike that he had to make the weight… he wasn’t either prepared to do that or didn’t think he could do it and have any chance at all to get in that ring and be competitive — something he should have thought about before he put his John (Hancock) onto that contract,” Atlas added.
In the aftermath of the cancelation, Rahman Jr. has repeatedly expressed a desire to have the bout re-arranged and accused Paul of running from him. Attempting to prove that Paul’s decision to cancel the fight was premature, the heavyweight professional even conducted his own weigh-in, which he uploaded despite still missing the 205-pound limit.
Interestingly, the majority of fans who voted on an MMA News poll differed from Atlas’ view, with 70% of the over-200 voters placing the fault at Paul’s doorstep.
Do you agree with Teddy Atlas’ take on the failed Jake Paul vs. Hasim Rahman Jr. matchup?