Roberto Apodaca, Reggie Sanders, Jerry Cooper and Edgar Ayala. Don’t pretend you know who they are.
A common argument made against Jake Paul, YouTube and Vine star turned professional boxer, is that he hasn’t fought a single ‘real’ boxer. The man is 4 fights in, and just defeated his 4th debuting fighter in the form of Tyron Woodley, probably the UFC’s worst champion outside of Germaine De Randamie.
For the entire time he has been boxing, Paul has been continuously criticised for his opponent, his debut was against another internet celebrity with no pro boxing record, fitting as Paul himself was an internet celebrity, with no pro boxing record.
His next bout was against Nate Robinson, basketball player, and professional athlete. This is the most questionable fight that could have been made as while Nate Robinson IS an athlete, he had no fight experience at all.
Then came Ben Askren, who he instantly KO’d. And finally Jake Paul has edged a tight split decision win over Woodley. That’s two wins over two veteran combat sports athletes.
Are they boxers? No. But that doesn’t at all tell the full story. Tyron Woodley had never competed in a boxing ring, but boxing is not some magical thing where 6 months in boxing guarantees you a win over someone who’s spent a life time in MMA but has never specifically boxed. Combat skill carries over. Athleticism carries over. Tyron Woodley has spent more time boxing than Jake Paul ever has, except he used his boxing for MMA. Woodley was a tough fight, and proved it last night, and what did we see.
Paul bit down on his gumshield and fought.
The argument that Paul is not a real boxer needs to die. It’s not a matter of him being a real boxer. He is fighting in professional boxing matches, against professional athletes and fighters, all the while advocating for MMA fighters to have better pay.
There are now calls for him to fight Tommy Fury, a ‘real’ boxer who combined opponents boast 14 wins and 165 losses. His debut opponent with 10 wins, hasn’t had a win since 2015 and was riding a streak of 39 fights without a win.
Debuting prospects in boxing are fed opponents with hundreds of professional losses, fighters who are literally only expected to walk in there to lose and often don’t even try to win. It’s as close as you can get to fixing fights without outright paying for an opponent to take a dive.
So let’s return to those four names at the start of this article. Those four opponents were the first opponents of Floyd Mayweather Jr. the highest paid boxer (not adjusted for inflation). Two of them were debuting fighters, and none had amateur credentials.
They technically had more boxing matches than Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley, but at that point you’re really splitting hairs when you consider that Jake Paul had one amateur boxing match, while Floyd Mayweather faced debuting fighters while being an Olympic Silver Medallist.
The sport of boxing is inherently corrupt and while Jake Paul is not likely to be a great world beating champion, you cannot accuse him of taking easy fights while being intellectual honest. The frequent attacks on Jake Paul, come from his celebrity and public persona, and have no basis in his actual ability as a boxer (at which he is simply decent).
A few weeks ago I had a moan about boxing being a circus. In particular Floyd Mayweather’s cringe inducing bouts against non-boxers in exhibition matches in a desperate clutch to maintain relevance. So, this hot take might be surprising for some reading – but the two are not comparable. Floyd Mayweather is an experienced, accomplished professional boxer who makes the sport look bad. Jake Paul, is just a boxer at the start of their career, doing the same things that other boxers do… although honestly doing them a bit better.