Three matches. Three wins. Three knockouts. These impressive numbers — renowned American YouTuber Jake Paul’s boxing record thus far — indicate a promising start to his career. Although his boxing career is still in its infancy, the 24-year-old has not steered clear from making a flutter of outlandish claims including comparing himself to the legendary Floyd Mayweather and tossing up challenges to veteran combat fighters to take him on in in the ring, which beggars the question if he is really as good as he claims to be.
The 6-foot-1-inch tall Ohioan faced barely any resistance from Saudi-born YouTuber AnEsonGib on his pro-boxing debut, which lasted only two minutes and 18 seconds of the first round as a handful of combination punches threw AnEsonGib off his balance before Jake wrapped up the lopsided game with a left punch followed by a right hook.
In his second bout, Jake faced off against former NBA player Nate Robinson. Although Jake was a heavy favourite because of Nate’s inexperience, Nate’s brute athleticism stood him a chance. Coming into the game, Paul said that he would dribble Robinson’s head off the campus like a basketball. The former NBA point guard kicked off the proceedings by slipping aggressive punches on his opponent but his defence was anemic and beleaguered. Paul pressed home that advantage and floored him with a vicious powerbomb of the right hand in the second round, which required emergency treatment from ringside doctors and enabled him to register his second win in as many matches. As per a computerised punches scoring system, Paul managed to land 21 per cent of punches whilst Robinson could land only 10 punches out of the 56 punches he threw at Paul.
Knowing that he can only ascend the boxing ranks and assert his authority in combat sports if he takes on established fighters instead of a YouTuber or an NBA superstar, Paul’s next fight was the stiffest challenge of his career as he was pitted against Bellator and welterweight champion Ben Askren. Paul put up another clinical showing and needed just a little over a minute to obliterate Askren who was all at sea after being at the receiving end of a vicious right hand from Paul.
From a tactical point of view, Paul has a variety of punches in his arsenal. As his three fights have shown, he has genuinely good right and left jabs and hooks in his repertoire complemented with an assured defense and composed footwork.
Plenty of boxing purists have already written him off because they take the view that pitting half-baked boxers like YouTubers or athletes from different sports against veteran fighters strip boxing of its quality. It is tough to not concur with them but if someone like Jake Paul is proving his mettle, there is no reason why he does not deserve a bout against whoever he challenges. Many of them are also irked by his trash-talking but as long as he lets his performance do the talking, he would not slip from the radar of boxing fans. Unlike other sports where trash-talking is considered unsportsmanlike, trash-talking is often used in combat sports to generate hype and entertainment around the contest.
To quote from a 2013 column by Nigel Collins, boxing writer for ESPN and former editor-in-chief of Ring Magazine, “When it comes to trash-talk, boxing is a natural.”
Collins, part of the 2015 class for the International Boxing Hall of Fame, added that there are two parts to trash-talking: content and delivery. So far, Jake Paul has delivered on both the fronts.
More importantly, Paul is sweating out in training and is determined to get more wins under his belt and that’s all that matters if he wants his aspirations of ascending the boxing ranks to become a reality.