"Jake wanted to fight" - Showtime's Stephen Espinoza reveals Jake Paul was willing to fight Hasim Rahman Jr. above the contracted weight

Stephen Espinoza (left) Jake Paul (right)
Stephen Espinoza (left) Jake Paul (right)

Jake Paul was scheduled to fight Hasim Rahman Jr. on Showtime PPV, before the fight was called off due to Rahman Jr. being overweight. Showtime President of Sports and event programming Stephen Espinoza has revealed that it was not 'The Problem Child’s decision to pull out.

In an interview with BoxingScene, Espinoza said:

“For his part, Jake wanted to take the fight, even at 215, but I think cooler heads prevailed. His team did not allow him [to fight at 215], and I absolutely agree with that. Jake should not be coming into a fight at 195, 200, and fighting someone who might be at 225 or 230.”

Most Valuable Promotions, the company promoting the fight, revealed what had happened behind the scenes. The fight was signed to be fought at 200lbs. Rahman Jr. was overweight four weeks before the fight. The New York State Athletic Commission were reluctant to sanction the fight regardless of weight.

#PaulRahman has been cancelled. Refunds for all ticket and PPV purchases will be provided. Full statement below.

Rahman Jr. told Paul's team that he would not come in under 215lbs. Paul’s team then decided to withdraw ‘The Problem Child’ from the event.

Espinoza added:

“No one was OK with Jake going in there fighting someone who could’ve been 20 to 30 pounds heavier than him.”

A weight discrepancy of such an amount in a fight is huge. Paul would be at a significant disadvantage. Even after the weigh-in, boxers typically rehydrate and enter bouts at more than the contracted weight.

Amir Khan famously fought Canelo Alvarez at a 155lbs catch-weight in 2016. Khan was brutally knocked out during the fight. Afterwards, Khan claimed that on the night he weighed in at 158lbs, while Canelo was 187lbs. As such, Khan realized he had made a mistake agreeing to the fight.

Showtime are continuing to stand by Jake Paul

Recent events have not gone as ‘The Problem Child’ has planned. When the August 6 card was originally announced, Tommy Fury was the opponent. Fury vs. Paul was a much-anticipated grudge match with the pair clashing on social media. That fight, however, went off after Fury pulled out.

Fury pulled out on the week of the press conference as he was unable to enter the United States. 'TNT' claimed that security had stopped him from boarding a flight to the New York press conference.

Watch Jake Paul explain what Tommy Fury needed to do to save the fight:

Update: All Tommy Fury has to do is go to the embassy to make this fight happen.

Fury has pulled out of fighting Paul before, again on Showtime PPV. The fight was scheduled for December 18, but in the end, Tyron Woodley stepped in to save the show. On this occasion, Fury cited a lung injury as the reason he could not compete.

Showtime, however, has reiterated the belief that Paul is the future of boxing. A four-fight deal exists with Paul and Showtime. The latest interview with Espinoza has reaffirmed the support that the network has for Jake Paul.

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Edited by John Cunningham
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