Jake Paul stealing the show is a dangerous omen for boxing

Kinda, sorta felt like a gimmick matchup.

Kinda, sorta felt like a gimmick matchup.
Photo: (Getty Images)

November 28 was one of the year’s craziest nights to date, yet an actual fight between 54-year-old Mike Tyson and 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr. doesn’t top the list of reasons why. In fact, the Tyson-Jones main event doesn’t rank in the top three.

Tyson vs Jones, though it was more eventful than Danny Jacobs versus Gabriel Rosado 24 hours earlier, was largely inconsequential to the point where a ruled draw didn’t even matter. Sure, Tyson significantly out-landed Jones and clearly should’ve won the fight, but who cares? The bout itself has no legitimate impact on boxing as a sport, nor does it hold weight across either man’s legacy in the aftermath. Though Tyson did say he’ll do it again in the post-fight press conference, his next bout may not be the most anticipated follow-up to yesterday’s card.

Triller was at the forefront of pushing this as a legitimate fight. To Tyson and Jones’ credit, it was a legitimate bout, just not one we should care about as much as Errol Spence vs Danny Garcia this coming Saturday. It was, for the most part, a well-executed memory road, that even included betting odds, despite the California State Athletic Commission warning there wouldn’t be a winner. (Miraculously, they were right.)

It’s not a gathering we need again, and we should be thankful no one escaped seriously injured, especially considering Jones’ frightening knockout history, along with Tyson’s apparent newfound inner peace (though Tyson did claim that the “gods of war” had reignited his ego). In the power rankings of what mattered most from last night, ahead of Tyson vs Jones, is Snoop Dogg’s commentary at number three, Nate Robinson actually boxing at number two, and Jake Paul knocking him the fuck out at number one.

Jesus Christ.

Now, I love Nate. He gave me an autograph before actually returning the marker I had loaned him to sign everyone else’s items as well. However, he shouldn’t have done that last night. And that’s not just hindsight. Boxing isn’t something you just try out because you’re a super athlete who played multiple other sports at a high level. There are consequences, including death, for those who casually invade the sport because they can. Boxing is not shy about placing entertainment — and profit — over artistry.

DAZN, who did not air last night’s card, has cultivated a reputation for enticing these YouTuber boxing bouts, where Paul won a TKO in his first fight. These guys think they could actually box now, which, I mean, if they remain among themselves, I suppose they could, and would continue to pocket a lot of money doing so. But we’re lucky Robinson is seemingly OK after falling face-first to the mat, in a similar position to other boxers who have found themselves comatose in the past.

The one-year anniversary of Patrick Day’s death was several weeks ago, and he was not only the most recent casualty of in-ring injuries, but the fourth fighter in three months between July and October of 2019 to be killed in that fashion.

Where Paul comes in is that he’s now 2-0. He’s even labeling himself as a ‘boxer and rapper’, a title he reaffirmed by plugging a new song immediately after wiping away Robinson in his post-fight interview. He’s even comparing himself to Deontay Wilder and calling out Conor McGregor.

“I’m taking this seriously,” Paul said after the fight. “I have a long list of opponents I want to fight. Conor McGregor, Dillon Danis: I will knock both of them out. There’s my brother (Logan Paul), Austin McBroom. I want to be in the sport for a long time. I’m in love with it.”

He later added, “I’m willing to be patient. I’m only 23 years old. Deontay Wilder started boxing at 21. I have a long future ahead. I’m just getting started. I talk a lot of shit but I back it up.”

One sentiment shared by actual champion boxer (and MMA combatant) Heather Hardy is widespread among those who care about the sport.

Amanda Serrano, the only seven-weight boxing world champion other than Manny Pacquiao, makes the key point: If you’re a boxer, fight actual fighters.

No one is saying that Paul can’t box, but he should be forced to choose. He’s been a celebrity masquerading as a boxer, who is now 2-0 and insists he’s legit. So, if he’s legit, let’s see it. Fight a journeyman light heavyweight or cruiserweight next. Even a can. The issue is that one day we’ll find him in a ring with a legitimate opponent, and it will be a very bad humbling for the famed YouTube star. Never mind the champions you’ve heard of, there are Darnell Boones of this world who would provide Paul a legitimate boxing lesson.

Boxing ain’t nothing to play with. But if Paul’s all-in, then go all-in and get real fights to build out your career. Otherwise, leave the other celebrities out of it before someone dies.

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