Why was Jake Paul vs. Hasim Rahman Jr. boxing fight canceled? Weight controversy, ticket sales headline conflicting reports as focus shifts to future opponents, dates in 2022

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Jake Paul - Hasim Rahman Jr.
(Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME)

On Saturday, July 30, the anticipated matchup between Jake Paul and Hasim Rahman Jr., set for August 6 inside Madison Square Garden, was abruptly canceled. It put an end to Jake Paul headlining MSG, something various boxing legends like Tyson Fury have never done before. 

Rahman was a replacement opponent as Tommy Fury, the initial opponent for Paul, could not enter the United States before fight night. It was the second time a fight between Fury and Paul was scrapped. The fight card would have featured Paul main eventing with Amanda Serrano defending her featherweight titles in the co-main event. 

Since then, fingers have been pointed in all directions regarding who to blame. Based on the bout agreement, many have put the blame on Rahman. Others have blamed Paul for simply making excuses. Either way, the marquee bout is dead in the water... for now.

Here is everything we know so far about the canceled fight and what happens next.

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Why was Jake Paul vs. Hasim Rahman Jr. canceled?

According to Most Valuable Productions, Paul and Rahman agreed to face off at the cruiserweight limit of 200 pounds. Paul has never fought above 200 pounds.

Rahman, a known heavyweight, did not follow that requirement, per Paul. His inability to meet the New York State Athletic Commissions’ newly stipulated contract weight of 205 pounds, following an attempt at negotiating, triggered the bout’s cancellation.

Per a release by Most Valuable Promotions, Rahman weighed 216 pounds on July 7 but vowed to make weight by August 6. According to MVP, Rahman lost "less than a pound" from July 7 to July 30. Rahman would have lost 25% of his purse for every pound he weighed over the 200-pound limit for their fight, based on the initial agreement. 

The promotion also put out that Rahman would only fight at 215 pounds. 

"The boxing community must hold Hasim Rahman Jr. liable for his lack of professionalism," MVP said in a statement.

Stephen Espinoza of Showtime — which planned on carrying the pay-per-view — weighed in on the controversy. Speaking with The Ring, Espinoza called the drama surrounding the fight unprofessional, specifically on the side of Rahman's. 

“We were given repeated assurances before he signed the contract that he was fine with 200 pounds," Espinoza stated. "He signed a contract for 200 pounds. For various reasons, the commission asked that it be changed to 205 pounds. Jake agreed to that. And then (on Saturday), out of the blue, we get word that Rahman wants to weigh 215 pounds. If he weighs in at 215, he could enter the ring at 225, 230, and that is an unsafe difference in weight.”

Hasim Rahman Jr. provides details why Jake Paul fight was canceled

Rahman, son of a former heavyweight champion, is a former sparring parter of Paul's. When they sparred together, Rahman weighed close to 230 pounds. Following the announcement of the fight cancellation, Rahman went on social media to vindicate himself. 

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The 31-year-old stated that his body would not physically allow him to get down to 200 pounds. That was following a three+-week timeframe. In the video, Rahman said he's more than willing to fight Paul on August 6. He even stated he would knock him out. Regarding why the fight is canceled, Rahman believes there is more to what is being said. He thinks Paul and his team are scared of what the results could be. 

“But where in boxing do you see them canceling fights a whole week in advance? I didn’t even get my last week to get down as low as I could. I told this man, ‘If penalties involved, keep the purse. Keep the purse. I’d fight you for the $5,000 minimum.’ That’s how much it means to me, and that’s how much faith I have in knocking him out,” Rahman stated, via Boxing Scene.

“It’s clearly been them not wanting to fight. It’s not me pulling out the fight. It’s them not wanting the fight. I never said that I didn’t want this fight. The only thing that I can conclude is they’re scared." 

During a press conference with Dan Canobbio of JomBoy and CompuBox, Rahman might have alluded the fact that there were additions to the contract during preparation for the fight that threw him off. 

Did Jake Paul vs. Hasim Rahman Jr. have low ticket sales? 

Word has been going around that Paul vs. Rahman inside MSG was experiencing low ticket sales. UFC President Dana White also theorized the fight was experiencing low interest following UFC 277. 

According to those within MSG, however, the Paul-Rahman fight was projected to be in the top 10 of the highest-grossing boxing events inside MSG in the past 15 years. It was stated that ticket sales were also "strong" and fight week traditionally resulted in the strongest interest in tickets.

The cancellation was not based on ticket sales, per MSG. Working with Most Valuable Promotions (which MSG called a great partner) to make the event possible, MSG stated that another collaboration with MVP in the near future would be welcomed with open arms. 

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How much were tickets for Jake Paul vs. Hasim Rahman Jr.?

Tickets for Paul vs. Rahman started at $81, via TicketSmarter. They then ranged from $100, $200, $300, $400, $500, $600, $700, $800, $900, $1,000, $1,500, $2,000, $2,500, $3,000, $3,500, and $4,000. The highest price for a ticket at the time was $5,800.

How much did Jake Paul vs. Hasim Rahman Jr. cost on PPV?

The fight on Showtime pay-per-view would have been resulted in fans paying $59.99. 

Who will Jake Paul fight next? Possible opponents in 2022

As far as Paul goes, he still has a few options. Paul and KSI have recently reignited their feud on Twitter. KSI is facing Alex Wassabi on August 27. It is unknown if Paul would head to the United Kingdom to watch the fight. KSI did attend Jake Paul’s bout against AnEsonGib not long ago and got into Paul’s face. 

MORE: Jake Paul and KSI re-ignite Twitter beef

Speaking of the U.K., Paul could attempt to bring Tommy Fury back into the fold. If a fight between the two couldn’t take place in the United States because of Fury’s visa issues, then Paul may have to compete in the U.K. or anywhere outside the U.S., per the request of John Fury. 

Paul has also shown an interest to facing Conor McGregor. The former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion fought Floyd Mayweather in a boxing fight in 2017. There have been rumors floating around of a Mayweather-McGregor rematch. Paul would welcome a fight with the “Notorious” one, and prefers that over Mayweather-McGregor II. 

“Me vs Conor McGregor is a way bigger fight,” Paul told The DAZN Boxing Show. “We know it’s just a money play if they fight. Me vs. Conor is way more competitive, there’ll be way more s--- talked, way more entertaining, and it’s the one that everyone really wants.”

Another option for Paul is Anderson Silva, the former UFC middleweight champion. Paul has expressed a desire to face Silva in the past. Silva last fought in May 2022, facing Bruno Machado in a non-scored bout. 

Who will Amanda Serrano fight next? Katie Taylor rematch headlines possible 2022 opponents

Serrano is the WBC, WBO, and IBO female featherweight champion. She was supposed to face mandatory challenger Brenda Carabajal. The fight would have been Serrano's first time inside MSG since main eventing in April against undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor. Taylor would win the bout via split decision. 

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The fighters and the rest of the boxing world have been craving for a rematch between Taylor and Serrano. Paul would explain that a rematch didn't happen right away as a result of a clause that states she has to defend her 126-pound belts or vacate them. "The Problem Child" suggested that a fight between the two take place at around 126 or 130 pounds. That would be instead of the 135 limit from last time. The offer for Taylor to do that is $2 million. 

While that offer may not become a reality, Serrano does need a fight. The featherweight title fight could still happen against Carabajal. A Taylor-Serrano rematch, however, may still be in play for this year. 

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Daniel Yanofsky is a combat sports editor at The Sporting News.