Monday, December 05, 2022  |


Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza speaks out on Hasim Rahman Jr. and the blown Jake Paul fight

Jake Paul after stopping his first opponent, Ali Eson Gib.

Brooklyn, NY—Hasim Rahman Jr. had an opportunity. He already carried his father’s hefty name. That cracked open some doors in boxing. More needed to be done to scratch the surface of his father, Hasim Rahman, the former heavyweight world champion. As an amateur, Rahman Jr. seemed destined that way, then he turned pro and began to falter.

Rahman Jr. found out a famous boxing surname carries only so much weight. He was not moving fast enough, then he got derailed in his last fight, splashed by James Morrison, the son of the late Tommy Morrison, by fifth-round knockout in April. His father even questioned him, admitting openly at a press conference to kickoff the August 6 fight against Jake Paul, “Flat out, I’ll give you an honest answer that I don’t know if my son will like it or not, my son has underperformed and under prepared for pretty much all of his fights. So, he’ll be ready for this one.”

The opportunity of a lifetime presented itself—a healthy career-high $250,000 payday on a large platform against boxing ‘s polarizing Paul at Madison Square Garden could have revived Rahman Jr.’s career.

Instead, he blew it.

The contract weight for the Paul fight called for a maximum 200 pounds. It’s interesting that when’s highly respected Keith Idec was the only one to ask the weight question during their prefight media conference, Rahman Jr. waved Idec off and said he could make the weight easily.

Yet on Friday, Rahman Jr. was nowhere near that.

He weighed 224¼ in his fight and has weighed as much as 278. To accommodate Rahman Jr., the weight limit was pushed up to 205, since the New York State Athletic Commission was routinely weighing Rahman Jr. coming in at 215 for its weekly check. As the fight date neared, Rahman Jr., 31, said he would not weigh less than 215 for the scheduled eight-rounder with Paul.

That forced Showtime president of sports and event programming Stephen Espinoza to cancel the Showtime eight-round Pay-Per-View event Saturday night as first reported by

In an exclusive along with on Saturday night at Barclays Center prior to the Danny Garcia-Jose Benavidez Jr. fight, Espinoza revealed Rahman Jr. (12-1, 6 knockouts) weighed 216 on July 7 and had only lost one pound since in the ensuing three weeks. The lowest Rahman Jr. ever weighed for a fight was 211¾.

Espinoza pointed out that Paul (5-0, 4 KOs) did everything asked.

Rahman Jr. did not uphold what he committed to do.

“If Rahman wasn’t committed to making 200 pounds, he never should’ve signed a contract to fight at 200 pounds,” Espinoza told and “He never should’ve told us for the last four weeks that he could make 200 pounds. It’s been an ongoing saga and I have to say it’s left a bad taste in all our mouths. It’s incredibly unprofessional the way this has been handled by the Rahman camp.

“We were given repeated assurances before he signed the contract that he was fine with 200 pounds. 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.”

Rahman Jr. was supposed to be the first real boxer the 25-year-old Paul would fight. He was stepping in on four weeks’ notice to replace Tommy Fury, Paul’s original opponent who was denied a visa to travel to the United States. The, Rahman Jr. went to social media to try and explain what happened and proceeded to draw the ire of social media squids lurking in the cesspool.

Rahman Jr. even got into it with legitimate fighters who do make weight.

Either way, Rahman Jr. did not come off very well.

He lost one pound—in three weeks.

“It was a massive opportunity for Hasim Rahman Jr.,” Espinoza said. “I’m very surprised it went this way and very disappointed. More than that, I’m disappointed for every other fighter on this card who held up, you know, their part of the bargain, who were professionals, who’ve been preparing for the last four to six weeks, if not longer.”

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/ since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.