HASIM RAHMAN JR feared knocking out Jake Paul in sparring would result to him not getting paid.
The pair are set to fight on August 6 at New York's iconic Madison Square Garden.
But it is not the first time they have shared a ring, with the two sparring twice together in the past.
Much has been made of the second occasion after Paul, 25, released heated footage from after the session.
But Rahman, 31, has since claimed he was under strict instructions to hold himself back or else risk losing his $100-per-round wage.
He said on The MMA Hour: “I didn’t come to beat you up, or to see if you were even on my level, or you were ready for this level.
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"I was actually was asked by your coaches not to knock you out, I was told that if I knock him out, I most likely wasn’t going to get paid.
"It was during the pandemic. It was $100 a round – it was easy work sparring for me. It was something I didn’t want to throw away.”
Paul sparred Rahman before his first two professional wins, over YouTuber "AnEsonGib" and ex-NBA star Nate Robinson, 38.
He later went on to beat former MMA champions Ben Askren, 37, and Tyron Woodley, 40.
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He was then due to fight Tommy Fury, but for the second time his online rival was withdrawn.
Fury, 23, this time was unable to fight amid a US visa issue, having last year pulled out with a rib injury.
It left Rahman ready and willing to step in and fight Paul on late notice, in a 14st 4lb cruiserweight bout over eight rounds.
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