Is Jake Paul the Hero Boxing Needs or an Opportunist Exploiting Gullible Viewers?
By Alex Fesl: On February 26, 2023, Jake Paul 6–0 (4 KOs), will be taking on Tommy Fury 8–0 (4 KOs), at the Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. This will be the third attempt for the two to face off in the squared circle.
In the first fight scheduled for December 18, 2021, Fury pulled out due to an injury. Paul then ended up taking on former UFC fighter Tyron Woodley and knocking Woodley out with a spectacular right hand. In the second attempt scheduled for August 6, 2022, Fury pulled out again this time due to travel issues. Paul then ended up agreeing to fight Hasim Rahman Jr on that same agreed date. That fight also ended up being scrapped due to a weight clause disagreement between the Paul and Rahman camps. Paul ended up fighting and defeating Anderson Silva several months later, on Oct 29, 2022.
If this fight does indeed happen, it will mark Paul’s first fight against a legit boxer. Paul has been feasting exclusively on boxing novices like Youtuber Ali Eson Gib, former NBA player Nate Robinson, and former MMA fighters Tyron Woodley, Ben Askren, and Anderson Silva. This will be a pivotal fight for the social media influencer, Paul. Boxing fans are starting to lose interest in entertaining the Jake Paul circus, and MMA fans are likely fatigued at hate-watching Jake Paul embarrass former MMA fighters.
As a fan of the sweet science, I am a bit perplexed at the notion of Paul’s role in boxing. Initially, when Paul was fighting no-hopers and retired MMA fighters, I felt like it was a cash-grabbing scheme for Paul to exploit curious fight fans and his social media followers.
Now that Paul seems to be moving on from punishing novices as well as getting involved on the promotion side with his Most Valuable Promotions promoting fellow boxers Ashton Sylve, Shadasia Green, and Amanda Serrano, I have had a change of heart about Paul.
While following Paul’s boxing career, I have also learned about his non-profit, Boxing Bullies Foundation, which has a message of “Instilling confidence, courage, & leadership in the youth through the sport of boxing while fighting back against bullying,” per the organization’s Instagram page. Additionally, Paul has become an outspoken voice in showcasing women’s boxing on the major boxing outlets. Kudos to Paul for speaking out and speaking up! Likewise, I appreciate Paul going back and forth on social media with UFC’s Dan White and Matchroom’s Eddie Hearns about their lack of integrity and overall poor business practices, in my opinion, of course. It’s nice to have someone with influence ruffle their feathers, so to speak.
With that said, Paul finds himself as a very polarizing figure in sports today. While in sports media, he may be portrayed as an internet troll causing chaos wherever he goes, behind the scenes, he has been showing himself to be a very savvy promoter and marketer. Like him or not, Paul is bringing much-appreciated positive attention to the already decaying sport of boxing.
Let me know in the comments what you think about Jake Paul. Do we need more outsiders like Jake Paul, Logan Paul, and KSI in boxing? What’s your prediction for Paul vs. Fury?
Follow Alex Fesl on Twitter: @AlexFesl
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