The Paul family has had a busy week, to say the least. Jake knocked out Ben Askren in the first round of a… questionable fight that sold over a million pay-per-views. Logan has a confirmed date for a fight against Floyd Mayweather. Two of the biggest names in boxing were full-time YouTubers three years ago.
Whenever Jake and Logan are brought up in connection with a boxing match, you hear all sorts of negativity such as “Jake Paul is disrespecting the sport! This is a circus!” I understand that. I also understand Jake when he says he’s taking the game seriously. I also understand what the Paul brothers bring to the sport of boxing.
One of the biggest gripes about Jake Paul is he hasn't fought anyone of real skill. A YouTuber, retired NBA player, and the worst striker in UFC history fresh off a knee replacement. His opponents all have a pro boxing record of 0-0 going into their bouts with Paul. Everybody wants Jake to “fight somebody” as if this isn’t how the entire sport of boxing is. I’m not sure how closely you follow the sport of boxing, but every emerging boxer takes many fights, even dozens, against fighters that are more or less being paid to lose. Take prospect Tommy Fury for instance. The brother of WBC and lineal heavyweight champ Tyson Fury. He has five wins and his opponents have a combined 12 wins and over 100 losses. None of those fights were designed to be remotely competitive. Even at the championship level, there are fights made between fighters that have no business being in the ring together. Mexican star Canelo Alvarez last defended his super-middleweight titles against Avni Yildirim. If you haven’t heard of Avni, it’s because he’s trash compared to Canelo. Canelo went in as a 50-1 favorite and everybody knew what was going to happen. It was just another excuse to sell some tickets and DAZN to satisfy subscribers. Why people hold the level of competition against Jake and not against literally every other boxer is beyond me.
It’s not even like Jake is relying on some natural boxing skill to win these fights. There’s a clear progression of his skills from fight to fight. For the length that his fight against Askren went, I was pretty surprised. He had a jab, threw some combos, was measured in his approach, and showed some okay ring craft. He’s not a top-level boxer, but he is legitimately training and getting better. He’s been cut, he’s been bloodied, and he keeps coming back looking for another fight. Are they easy? Probably, but no pro boxer aside from Lomachenko has taken hard fights in the early stages of their pro career.
What’s most important here is that Jake and Logan are bringing new eyes to the sport. Boxing is one of the oldest sports there is but it’s also down compared to the glory it experienced in the '90s. This generation of boxing is arguably as exciting as it’s been since the '90s and nobody’s watching. Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder is one of the very few times we see all-time greats going against each other in their prime and they sold a measly 325,000 pay-per-views. People think it’s devaluing the sport of boxing but what’s happening is people are watching these fights and they’re going into the comments section and they’re reading. “Golovkin is a real boxer! Terrence Crawford would box circles around Jake!” People read that and maybe a few fall into a boxing rabbit hole seeing who the true top boxers in the world are, they start to watch more fights and get a better appreciation for the sport which in turn grows the overall sport. Jake Paul’s average viewership is kids between the ages of 7 and 12, according to him. Maybe one of those kids gets inspired to become the next Canelo Alvarez.
Are Jake and Logan Paul’s fights circus events? Yes, and boxing is benefitting from it big time.
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