You’ve definitely read the stories and seen the scuttlebutt on social media about why Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley isn’t watching Saturday’s game.
They said it was bad for boxing. They wrote that a YouTube celebrity’s rivalry in sweet science is a mockery of the sport. UFC welterweight competitor Colby Covington called it an “embarrassment to society”. Critics called it a “circus show” etc.
MORE: Jake Paul vs Tyrone Woodley 2 fight date, time, PPV price, odds and location for the 2021 boxing match
They keep making fun of Paul’s unexpected boxing career because it’s a joke, right?
If it’s a joke, the numbers are funny.
Half a million paid first fight purchases aren’t something to laugh about, especially when you consider that fights like Manny Pacquiao vs. Jordenes Ogas, Terence Crawford vs. Sean Porter, Gerfonta Davis vs. Mario Barrios and others just can’t match that number. A YouTube celebrity turned award fighter has managed to attract a new audience to a sport that has struggled with a millennial demographic.
Paul brings to the sport a certain element of entertainment that goes a long way towards attracting new fans. Some of the biggest stars in boxing history have added more to their sweet flag application. Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. were major attractions who also had fun outside the squared circle.
MORE: Paul says he could become “the next Muhammad Ali as fast as this is going”
In the end, it’s all professional wrestling.
Die-hard fans may turn their noses up at professional wrestling dramas, but its mix of violence, drama, and quirky characters captures the attention of the average fan and turns a regular fight into an event. This drives ratings and fills arenas across the country.
Fighting is a universal language, and it’s the only sport where a bad fight is a good fight. The untrained eye does not care about technique or skill. No matter what someone is watching, if a fight breaks out, you’ll probably catch their attention. There is a reason why videos of people fighting are getting more attention than, say, two people playing a one-on-one game of basketball. Our physical appetite drives us to violence, and there wasn’t much interest in technology. However, those who are able to entertain and fight are more attractive than those who cannot.
Jake Paul has mastered having the right blend of ability and entertainment value while being fully aware of the money that boxing requires. He has brought his huge fan base to the sport, taking his training seriously, setting himself up with the right opponents and creating quite a buzz around his fights by using social media tools to attract the audience.
You don’t like his antics? that’s fair. But remember, people didn’t like the actions of Ali, Tyson, and Mayweather either. Paul sure isn’t close to any of these skilled fighters, but he has the ability to attract eyeballs.
MORE: Woodley says Paul’s pride would ‘get him in trouble’ in rematch
You don’t have to like it, but playing a gatekeeper in a sport where the goal is to punch an unconscious opponent is ridiculous. Jake Paul does not handle your taxes or represent you in the courtroom. This is boxing. It makes people want to watch a sport that has lost the masses’ attention because so many other things are competing for their time and attention.
To be clear, if no one is watching it, the sport you love and protect so much will eventually die.
So, what are we angry about, again?
Ah yes. He can’t fight, can he?
Well, it’s not Canelo Alvarez, that’s for sure. But he has shown a huge improvement since he first donned the gloves in an amateur fight against fellow YouTuber Deji Olatunji in 2018. He’s upped his competition by going from YouTuber to NBA athlete to MMA fighter wrestling with MMA fighter hitting. He was supposed to be Paul’s next boxer on Saturday until Tommy Fury pulled out due to injury.
MORE: What Happened to Tommy Fury?
Oh, do you want him to fight real boxers? He’s only heading into his fifth fight as a pro. Unless a boxer has an amateur career, it is unlikely that anyone turning pro will encounter top-tier competition early in their career. Boxing world adores Julio Cesar Chavez, but this career track record has had its fair share of tomato packs and taxi drivers. Deontay Wilder was an Olympic bronze medalist, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a good opponent in the first few years of his professional career.
You may not respect Jack Paul as a fighter, but you have to respect him as a promoter. He continues to reveal a new audience for well-known fighters, such as Amanda Serrano and Montana Love. He doesn’t have to, because the tried-and-true formula in boxing is to make the main event the only fight that matters, but Paul made it a point to highlight the best boxers on his bottom cards.
When he topped his first pay-per-view, an April 2020 fight against Ben Screen, Paul put former junior welterweight champion Regis Progress into the co-main event. The bottom card featured in his first fight with Woodley Love, potential opponent Fury, heavyweight knockout artist Daniel Dubois and one of the world’s best female fighters in Cyrano.
And he pays them – okay.
MORE: Paul’s Wallet vs. Woodley 2: How Much Will They Earn for the Match?
Again, he doesn’t have to, but Paul and Nakiza Bedrian, his senior advisor and co-founder of Most Valuable Promotions, realized it would do them great to help grow the sport by dividing the pie rather than hoarding it. Financial benefits.
In the process, Paul Rich upset UFC President Dana White and became an unlikely advocate for the right fighter compensation in combat sports. This definitely helps.
If providing a platform for other fighters to get to know a smaller demographic is wrong, we shouldn’t be right.
Will Jack Paul become world champion? He would like to think so, but it will take a lot of work to be able to challenge the best crop in boxing. But he can continue to make his mark on the sport and inject it with the right amount of adrenaline by drawing in an audience that may eventually become a fan of the “real” fighters.
This is how you help grow a sport.
You don’t have to love him, but it’s time to dispel the idea that Jack Paul is destroying boxing. Much worse things are happening which has damaged the public’s perception of the sport.