Somehow, in the more than a year since this passion project was undertaken, we never once posted an article about boxing. Frankly, even for me, it’s kinda outta sight, outta mind. My fondest memories of boxing go back to the days of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman, with Howard Cosell providing the narrative for press conferences that were the de facto originator of what we now know is engaged hype. With the exception of Foreman, better known by most under retirement age as a proponent of low-fat grilling, along with many others who once considered boxing a major sport, those personalities are now pushing up daisies.
All the more reason that any attention paid to the sport by the likes of Jake Paul needs to be embraced, however grudgingly. Jake Paul may be less well known to you than is Jake from State Farm, particularly if you have any knowledge of who those deceased boxing personalities were. But given how those who do know him feel about him, it’s in your best interest, let alone that of the sport, to know. Per our friend Wikipedia:
Paul was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and grew up in Westlake, Ohio, with his older brother Logan, who is also a YouTuber and internet personality. They started filming themselves when Jake was 10.
Paul began his career in September 2013 posting videos on Vine. By the time Vine was discontinued by Twitter Inc., Paul had amassed 5.3 million followers and 2 billion views on the app. Paul launched his YouTube channel on May 15, 2014. His channel is known for pranks, controversies, and his hip hop music.
After gaining acclaim on Vine and YouTube, Paul was hired onto the set of the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark, playing a character who accepted dare requests that he would then perform. On July 22, 2017, during the middle of filming the second season of Bizaardvark, the Disney Channel announced that Paul would be leaving the series. The announcement followed a news report from KTLA about public complaints from Paul’s neighbors regarding the noise generated by Paul’s pranks, parties, fire hazards and the large crowds of Paul’s fans congregating in their neighborhood. Paul later confirmed the news on his Twitter page, saying he would now focus more on his personal brand, his YouTube channel, his business ventures, and more adult acting roles. Paul later revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he was actually fired from Bizaardvark by Disney, which wanted to expedite the process of weaning him off the show due to the KTLA segment..
Since then, this Generation Z Johnny Knoxville has branched out to many other fields, including music and, more recently, sports business. And he apparently loves actual fighting as much as he does fighting with words and in business. He apparently loves boxing most of all. Since 2019, he has pursued a professional career, even if his choices of opponents weren’t necessarily working full-time at it, either. Those who he defeated in his first six bouts, without a loss, were a former NBA player, three onetime MMA fighters (one twice) and a fellow You Tuber. Despite that, he’s done fairly well financially, and, more recently, has launched a new business venture determined to ensure that an awful lot of his influential, newly financially independent fans would likely never threaten his status.
In May 2022, Paul featured on the Forbes list for the highest paid athletes in 2022. Forbes estimated that Paul made $38 million from his three boxing bouts, and various other income streams, in the period.
In August 2022, Paul founded a sports-media and mobile-betting company, “Betr”, alongside Simplebet founder Joey Levy. Paul claims to have received $50 million in series-A funding for this venture.
This venture, known as micro-betting, offers those weaned on TikTok the chance to wager on almost every possible outcome in a live sporting event–every pitch, down, shot attempt and, yes, round of competitive fighting. Many who are young, savvy and entitled enough to have access to the parents’ credit cards lose thousands a month doing this, and are addicted enough at an early age to warrant years of expensive therapy.
Which is why an awful lot of older adults were rooting like crazy for his first-ever actual boxing opponent, Tommy Fury, to beat the ever-loving sh-t out of him when they faced off in a PPV event this past Sunday.
And that alone was why an awful lot of HIS followers were rooting for Jake to go 7-0.
The Independent, a balanced Sport voice in Fury’s native UK, reported how the event went down:
YouTuber-turned-boxer Paul lost a narrow decision to Fury – half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson – in Saudi Arabia, marking the American’s first loss as a professional boxer. Paul has attributed his loss to Tommy Fury to ‘four weeks’ of sickness in the lead-up to Sunday’s fight.
“I was sick for four weeks out of this nine-week camp,” Paul said on his BS w/Jake Paul podcast. “Then I was travelling and jet-lagged for like another week out of that.
“What’s p***ing me off the most is that it had nothing to do with [Fury], it had everything to do with me. He wasn’t that great at all.”
And then, Madison Williams of Sports Illustrated reported exactly how well Paul had done in the area that apparently means more to him than a won-loss record:
Jake Paul may have suffered the first loss of his professional boxing career to Tommy Fury on Sunday, but he certainly didn’t walk away empty-handed.
The YouTube star-turned-boxer announced on his podcast BS With Jake Paul on Wednesday that he earned $30 million for the fight.
Paul also noted on his podcast that the fight garnered 500,000 pay-per-view purchases. According to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, the price for the fight in the United States was $50 and $19.95 in the United Kingdom.
The 26-year-old has yet to announce his next fight. However, it’s possible there could be a Fury-Paul rematch set up in the future. Paul is definitely on board.
“We’re going to come back and get that W,” Paul said after Sunday’s bout.
Which then led Paul to immediately pivot to singing the praises of Fury:
Paying respect to Fury, Paul said: “He’s definitely blossomed, overnight superstar, it’s great for him.
“I think he’s a good kid, we had a bunch of respect for each other spoken in the locker room. He said, ‘Let’s do the rematch.’
“He seems very level headed and down to earth. We both kind of were just like, ‘Yeah, we talked a lot of s***, built this fight up, did a great job promoting it.’
All that was missing from this modern-day equivalent to pre and post-fight hype was someone as entertaining and “objective” as Cosell was.
No, Jake Paul will never be confused with Muhammad Ali, or Leila Ali, or even Ali G. as a boxer. But as a self-promoter and ego-inflated spokesperson for an emerging generation sorely needed for an otherwise dying sport, he’s arguably already in a league not far off from that which Ali ultimately lifted the sport into.
They will pay for the rematch, perhaps with winnings from microbetting, and perhaps with those parents’ credit cards. Or maybe they won’t have to, because their parents will want to see Fury beat the sh-t out of him once and for all. Tyson, not Tommy.
Even if the old fogies get their wish, Paul’s already working on his next hustle. In January he announced he was joined the UFC’s new rival, the Premier Fighting League, where he has co-founded and will lead a new pay-per-view division called “Super Fight”, as well as own the title of “head of fighter advocacy”.
Hey, MMA viewers are even aging up these days, and they kinda need their own infusion of youth.
It took something like this for me to even pay attention to a sport I once truly loved. And there’s no way on God’s green Earth I could ever get whipped into shape to even think about stepping into a ring of any kind, with four sides or eight, to beat the sh-t out of the likes of someone who is turning Generations Z and A into candidates for Gamblers’ Anonymous. Though I can’t even fathom being able to justify paying $50, or even 50 cents, for any PPV fight, these days, I know I’ll be caring a lot more about a Paul-Fury (Tommy, Tyson or even Plymouth) rematch than I did about the one that took place this past weekend.
So I suppose I need to offer at least some kudos to Paul. In his own way, he floated like a bee and stung like a butterfly, but he gave boxing the punch to its core that it needed to get the likes of me to pay attention.
Thanks, Jake Paul. Gosh darn it.