On Saturday just gone, Jake Paul improved to 2-0 with a second-round knockout of former NBA star Nate Robinson. The fight wasn’t particularly competitive with the younger Paul clearly a level above his opponent, dropping him hard three times before the fight was finally stopped.
The huge disparity inability was to be as expected as Robinson had only taken up the sport earlier this year, and despite being a former elite athlete, was also the much older and smaller man. It was abundantly clear he was in way above his head from the offset, looking uncomfortable and diving into clinches only serving to delay the inevitable.
The first real punch that landed swept Robinson clean off his feet, and after somehow making it through the round another two knockdowns in the second ended the contest. Things couldn’t have gone much better for Paul who completely outclassed his opponent while scoring the kind of viral knockout he would’ve been looking for.
One thing that cannot be denied about the Paul brothers is they treat the sport with the kind of respect it deserves, cutting no corners while getting themselves into impressive shape and making a sustained effort to learn and improve.
It is clear neither of them is going to reach the elite level of the sport, and whatever they may want people to believe it’s unlikely they’ll ever actually fight anyone with any real pedigree, but in terms of beginners there more than adequate fighting against other novices.
The main thing they both bring to the table is a huge audience, with Jake having 20.3 million YouTube subscribers and Logan having 22.6 million. While it is hard to believe the promoter spiel that they are turning their millions of followers into boxing fans and they are ‘good for the sport’, the long and short of it is, they both generate numbers, and while both have the ability to draw expect to continue to see them on big shows and linked with big stars, sadly that’s just the nature of the game.
Their brash and arrogant personas have also created the want/need for people to see them humbled, meaning even if people are watching only in the hope they lose, that’s more people paying and more reason for promoters to put them on their shows.
From an influencer perspective bouts with KSI or Austin McBroom would be big business and on paper seem relatively well matched. One thing the whole ‘YouTube boxing‘ scene has created is largely entertaining spectacles, and while the level on show is dramatically worse than the elite world championship bouts seen most weekends, as long as the combatants are evenly matched there isn’t really too much wrong with them.
I may be in the minority but I would be interested in how a fight between Jake Paul and a Dillon Danis would look, Danis being a BJJ wizard and current undefeated Mixed Martial Artist signed to Bellator. Another young man who has mastered the art of self promotion at the expense of being liked, It is probably the only fight against a legitimate well known combat sports athlete that either Paul would have any kind of chance in.
One place they should certainly not be though is on the same card as ‘real’ fights. Seeing Billy Joe Saunders and Devin Haney defend world titles on the undercard of KSI vs Logan Paul was a sad sight, and further highlighted the huge gulfs in class and ability that boxing fans already knew existed. These kind of contests should be on their own cards or on exhibition events like the one last weekend.
Ultimately the Paul’s are neither good nor bad for boxing and their interest and involvement is a mechanism of how the sport works in 2020. Fans should be prepared to keep seeing them on big shows against opponents they are heavily favoured to beat and then subsequently talking afterwards like they are trained killers.
Even though from a boxing purists standpoint it only succeeds in showing everything that’s wrong with how modern day boxing and to a greater degree sports are run, there is another part of me that is intrigued with how far and where they can take ‘YouTube boxing‘.