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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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COLUMN: Is Jake Paul a legitimate fighter?
Brie Coder
Brie Coder is a graduate student studying graduate student in communication and leadership and can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.

Last month, Netflix debuted the documentary “Untold: Jake Paul the Problem Child,” which chronicles the life of Jake Paul and how he went from an Internet influencer to a “legitimate boxer.”

Yes, I put legitimate boxer in quotation marks because there seems to be a debate within the combat sports community about whether or not Paul deserves to be welcomed into the squared ring with open arms.

Paul, 26, started his whirlwind romance with boxing in 2018. Having been an athlete growing up behind the scenes of his charismatic Vine and YouTube vlogging, there was an adrenaline rush that never seemed to die down, and boxing revitalized that dopamine release.

Boxing, a decorative combat sport that began to make headways in 688 BC, was more for a man testing his survival skills. Legendary fighters of the product, such as Joe Louis, ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson, Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali, took an oath to live and die for this industry, refusing to make a mockery out of the only profession that gave them their bread.

It was a legitimate sport that spectators never sneezed at until Paul stepped between the ropes. Like a shadow in the night, skepticism followed Paul like a bad habit all throughout his notorious combat sports journey.

Paul’s risky career in boxing began after the former Disney Channel star and his brother, Logan Paul, were called out by another pair of brothers: KSI and Deji Olatunji.

With critics in his ears and the godfathers of boxing watching rather closely, the pressure to be taken seriously was heavily placed on Paul’s shoulders.

Facing Olatunju in an amateur contest on August 25, 2018, Jake came out swinging and earned his first-ever victory in his first-ever fight with a technical knockout after the fifth round.

Still, the boxing community was not smitten by Paul’s lucky strike. Out to prove the haters again, Jake honed his craft in skilled fighting and officially announced his professional boxing debut against another YouTuber, AnEsonGib.

Once again, fans of the sport pondered, “Where are the professionals in this bout? Why are celebrities dismantling the once highly critical sport we once adored?”

Facing harsh criticism once more, Paul had no choice but to tear the roof down with a TKO punch in the first round at 2:18 against AnEsonGib.

The same heavy-hitting TKOs would follow for Paul, gaining him two more victories after AnEsonGib. Those fighters were basketball star, Nate Robinson, and Bellator MMA and ONE Welterweight Champion, Ben Askren.

Paul went from crawling to walking right into the big boy’s background on August 29, 2021, three years after his first amateur fight, where he picked a sparring date with former UFC Welterweight Champion, Tyron Woodley.

These two carried a two-bout rivalry, which saw Paul win both times: first time via a split decision and a TKO shot in the sixth round.

With the juices flowing and the cockiness brewing, Paul, with a 5-0 undefeated streak, took the gamble of a lifetime when he challenged “The Spider” Anderson Silva to a contest.

Mind you, Silva is a former UFC Middleweight Champion with a 3-2 and 34-11 win record in boxing and mixed martial arts, respectively.

After an explosive back-to-back slugfest that went all eight three-minute rounds, Paul walked out of the squared circle with a unanimous 78-73 score. How?

Feeling like the king of boxing, the judges knocked Paul down a peg when he couldn’t win them over on January 27, 2023, against Tommy Fury, the half-brother of the mythical and vicious heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury.

Lucky for Paul, the loss came from two judges’ scorecards, favoring Fury with 76-73.

Three months later, Nate Diaz, a former UFC fighter, chose Paul as his opponent for his professional boxing debut. The two fighters went toe-to-toe for ten rounds, extending the original agreement of eight. After rolling with the punches from his first professional loss, Paul made a

comeback with a unanimous victory from the judges with 98–91, 98–91, and 97–92. As of now, Paul stands at a 7-1 professional record.

Despite his chip-on-the-shoulder attitude, Paul is starting to understand how much devotion, blood, sweat and tears it takes to step into the ring with the big sharks. With a never-say-die mentality, he can go round after round with the challengers that stand in front of him.

As a new advocate to the industry, Paul has managed to create and co-own his own promotion, Most Valuable Promotions, which helps younger talents of all ages, sizes and genders find their footing in the business.

He is also trying his darndest to form a unionization to ensure fighters are protected from the blows they take in the ring. So, has Paul brought travesty to boxing?

One thing that is hard to ignore is the fact that Paul is a draw. Thanks to his vlogging platform, he has established a cult-like following of a million-plus subscribers. He is revealing the boxing businesses to other ventured demographics, which adds a liveable profit to the industry and its fighters.

Does the boxing world have an issue with him? Of course. Most observers argue whether it’s true that Paul brings in millions of pay-per-view buys and has earned his position to co or main-event his matches.

Furthermore, most of them fear change, but in an industry like this, change is necessary. What was once a dying pass time, Paul breathed new life into this traditional clashing sport, or did he?

Is Paul the “Problem Child” he claims to be? Yes. But should we crown him with the handle of a professional fighter? That’s up to you to decide.

Brie Coder can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.

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About the Contributor
Brie Coder
Brie Coder, Columnist
Brie Coder is a graduate student in communication and leadership. She previously served as a columnist for The News.

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