By: Sean Crose
People stopped laughing last night. They had been laughing, but they stopped at two minutes and twelve seconds into the sixth round of the second Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley fight. For that was when social media star turned pro boxer Paul slammed a thunderous right onto the noggin of former UFC star turned pro boxer Woodley. Unconscious on impact, Woodley literally fell flat on his face, his arms hanging at his sides. The moment was reminiscent of Thomas Hearn’s brutal one punch knockout of fellow great Robert Duran way back in 1984. Everyone knew what Hearns was capable of at the time, though. People knew Paul could hit, sure, but it’s doubtful anyone realized just how frighteningly effective his punches could be before this weekend.
Now they know.
And they’re shocked.
Because they should be.
So let’s put things in perspective.
First and foremost, Paul cannot beat boxing’s premiere attraction, Canelo Alvarez, or anyone near Canelo’s level of skill. At least not yet. Probably not ever. The truth is that Paul’s own skills remain quite rudimentary. Canelo, or any high caliber boxer, for that matter, would not have taken the shot Woodley did. Either that or they would have been set to nullify it’s impact. Let’s not forget, legit as he is, Woodley is a product of the octagon, not the ring. There’s a world of difference between those two combat zones. Mixed martial artists have to be prepared for all sorts of attacks from their opponents. Boxers have to be prepared for punches – not just punches, but punches honed to perfection. There’s a reason why Floyd Mayweather didn’t crumble like so many mixed martial artists had when he was hit clean by Conor McGregor. Mayweather was a natural boxer while McGregor, talented and skilled though he was, was a mixed martial artist operating in someone else’s sport.
Not to belabor the point, but Paul hasn’t traded punches with a boxer who hadn’t floated into the ring from another athletic realm. Thing is, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Paul has now had a total of five professional boxing matches. Five. Even the brightest of boxing’s rising stars doesn’t start off fighting high level competition. It would be career suicide, just as it would be career suicide for Paul to try to mix it up with fighters of note right now. He’s growing into the sweet science and such things take time. What’s interesting – and even impressive – about the guy is that he really is growing. He trains his ass off and looks to improve. In short, he takes the sport seriously.
Which is why, limited though his resume is, he should now be taken seriously as a prospect. I use the word “prospect” here because this is a boxing publication which takes boxing seriously. Paul’s popularity ultimately won’t hold up against his own ring accomplishments in this neck of the figurative woods. Yet, with all that out of way, let’s admit that, celebrity or not, Jake Paul is a professional boxer to keep an eye on.
Not that anyone really has a choice to NOT pay attention.
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