The YouTube star-turned-boxer picked up his 6th professional boxing win.
Former YouTube star Jake Paul moved to 6-0 last week after defeating former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva via unanimous decision. Paul’s latest victory adds a third UFC fighter to his roster of wins.
The 25-year-old Paul defeated Silva, 47, after a close fight before pulling away in the eighth round. Although Silva has retired from the UFC and is nearly twice Paul’s age, it’s an impressive victory. However, should we still care about Jake Paul’s fighting career?
Defeating a former UFC fighter is an impressive feat for anyone, even in the boxing ring. While this fight certainly didn’t have the same promotional hype behind it as his previous fights, it just might be Paul’s best victory.
Silva was one of the most dominant UFC fighters of his time, finishing with a 34-11 record and still holding the record for the longest title reign as the Middleweight Champion. Silva, a UFC fighter before a boxer, still has an impressive skill set that translates well from the octagon to the ring as a mixed martial artist.
After defeating his childhood “idol,” Paul took to the mic and called another UFC fighter to step into the ring — Nate Diaz. Diaz, a fan favorite of avid UFC watchers, won his last fight against Tony Ferguson in September and was in attendance for Paul’s latest fight.
While many are eager for Diaz to accept the challenge and watch the two go at it in the ring, some have taken offense with Paul’s decision to challenge another UFC fighter rather than a traditional boxer.
I understand the frustration, but fans have to understand the decision from a financial standpoint. By continuing to call out UFC stars, Paul ensures his fights get bigger pay-per-view numbers. While boxing purists would like to see him fight an up-and-coming boxer his age, Paul’s decision to call out bigger names makes more sense financially.
The decision also makes sense given that the UFC has rising pay-per-view numbers in recent years compared to boxing’s stagnant numbers. There are more household-name UFC stars than there are boxers. In his callout to Diaz, Paul also decided to mention Canelo Álvarez, the biggest name in boxing.
While Álvarez certainly won’t respond to the challenge, it’s very possible Diaz could be Paul’s next opponent. This would draw perhaps Paul’s biggest viewership of his young career.
At this point, love him or hate him, Jake Paul has established himself as a legitimate professional boxer. “The Problem Child” has fast hands and knockout power comparable to that of fellow rising boxers. Although his fights have come under scrutiny for his choice of opponents, Paul is still undefeated in six fights. This is no easy feat.
Paul himself understands this and has fought back against his criticism. “If I could walk on water, they would say I can’t swim,” Paul said after his last fight. Although I’m not his biggest fan, I understand his complaint. Fans are seemingly always moving the goalposts for Paul after winning fights.
It’s fair to criticize his choice of opponents; however, it’s unfair to demean his skills after winning every professional match he’s had. After all, he’s done everything asked of him after stepping into the ring: be the last one standing.
While he certainly won’t be a fan favorite anytime soon, it’s time to admit that Jake Paul shows promise as a professional boxer. Unfortunately for him, it seems he won’t get the benefit of the doubt until beating fellow professional boxers rather than UFC fighters.