Jake Paul aspires to be more than a social media sensation portraying a professional boxer.
Paul revealed to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi on Thursday why he picked Hasim Rahman Jr. to replace Tommy Fury in the co-main event of the Aug. 6 show at Madison Square Garden in New York City:
“There’s no reason why I should be taking this fight. … I want to prove to the boxing world that I’m a real dog, which I am. And I’m gonna go in there against this 12-1 kid who is bigger than Tommy Fury, faster than Tommy Fury—all of these things. And I’m gonna put on the performance of a lifetime and just shut everyone up.”
Paul was supposed to fight Tommy Fury on the program, but Fury revealed on Thursday that he had to pull out due to visa concerns in the United States.
This is the second time a planned Paul-Fury fight has been canceled. They were meant to fight on December 18; however, Fury was unable to participate due to a fractured rib and a chest illness.
Tyron Woodley took Fury’s place on the December episode. Paul knocked out Woodley in the sixth round for his second consecutive victory against the former UFC welterweight champion.
Paul’s first five professional boxing contests were all against boxers with no boxing experience. His first two wins came against fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib and former NBA player Nate Robinson.
In his third fight, Paul faced veteran UFC fighter Ben Askren. Askren was chastised for seeming to enter the battle in less-than-optimal physical condition. He was knocked out in the first round after less than two minutes.
Hasim Rahman Jr. is the first traditional boxer Paul has faced. The 31-year-old is the son of Hasim Rahman, a former two-time world heavyweight champion.
Rahman has fought as big as 269 pounds in his career, according to Raimondi. Paul’s business partner, Nakisa Bidarian, told Raimondi that Paul is presently 195 pounds and one month away from his fight with Rahman.
Rahman has a 12-1 career record, with his lone loss coming in April versus James McKenzie Morrison.