Jake Paul takes the next step in his boxing journey on Sunday evening.
The YouTuber-turned-prizefighter will finally step into the ring with rival Tommy Fury after two cancellations pushed their matchup back by a year and a half.
This will be the first time Paul, who’s 6-0 as a professional, faces an actual boxer – not an MMA fighter, not a former NBA player, and not a fellow internet celebrity. Fury might not be the hottest up-and-comer in boxing, and his popularity might largely come from his last name and appearance on “Love Island,” but he does have an 8-0 record.
Before Paul and Fury square off in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, let’s dive into the matchup and what a win could mean for both fighters.
Biggest storyline: Paul out to silence the critics
We’re just over three years into Paul’s venture as a pro boxer, and the big narrative is that he doesn’t fight actual boxers.
Well, that’s about to change. At least a little bit.
Fury is far from a top talent, and despite being only 23 years old, it’s unlikely he’ll ever be a title contender. The Brit sort of falls in the middle of “real boxer” and “celebrity boxer” – some take him seriously, others don’t. Meanwhile, Paul will always get criticism regardless of how impressive he looks in this fight or future matchups. He’s polarizing and controversial, but at the very least, this fight is a step in the right direction for Paul to validate his boxing career.
Win or lose, agreeing to fight Fury has proven that Paul is, in fact, willing to take on bigger challenges. Fury, no matter what you think of him, has stepped into the ring eight times – twice more than Paul. That is a fact. Paul is no longer chasing tailor-made opponents like former UFC stars Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren, who had no boxing background before fighting Paul. He wants to fight legitimate boxers because he wants to be considered a legitimate boxer himself.
Years from now, this matchup could prove to be one of the most important of Paul’s career.
What happens if Paul wins?
A win over Fury would be massive for Paul: He could finally say he defeated a boxer, and more specifically, one who is younger and probably more athletic than him. Paul would gain more traction in the sport because he isn’t fighting an MMA guy for the first time since 2020. Beating Fury would prove Paul’s skills more than beating Anderson Silva, Woodley, Askren, or any of his other opponents did, and that’s hugely important as “The Problem Child” takes the next step in his boxing career.
What happens if Fury wins?
It’s unclear whether their contracts have a rematch clause in case Paul loses to Fury, but the pair would likely run it back. It would mean more money for Fury and give Paul a chance to avenge the first loss of his career. Paul has had enough success in the past three years that one loss wouldn’t completely derail his trajectory, but winning will always be key in keeping his boxing venture alive for the long haul. If Fury pulls off the upset, Paul would surely want to get this one back.
X-factor for Paul: His growth
Paul seemingly made some big improvements between his December 2021 knockout win over Woodley and his October 2022 decision win over Silva, displaying crisper hands and a stronger ability to control the ring against the latter. Paul had clearly been putting in work in the gym and leveled up as a boxer, so that win was a surprisingly impressive performance.
A fighter like Paul – someone who’s young, still relatively inexperienced, and new to the sport – will often significantly improve between each fight. If Paul has once again seen a lot of growth this training camp, it could be a long night for Fury.
X-factor for Fury: His power
Fury has four knockouts in eight pro wins and hits quite hard. Since he’s a bit more comfortable as a boxer than Paul’s other opponents, there’s a greater chance he’ll take advantage of Paul’s imperfect defense. If Fury can touch Paul once, he might touch him again and again until Paul goes down.
Paul is the betting favorite, and that seems right. There’s an argument that his win over Silva is better than any of Fury’s victories. He is also more familiar with eight-round fights since his opponent has mostly fought four-rounders and gone no more than six rounds. Paul increasingly looks like a legitimate boxer each time he steps into the ring, and his surprising undefeated run will continue Sunday when he earns a competitive but clear decision victory over Fury.
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