By: Sean Crose
You don’t have to be an MMA fanatic to understand that Tyron Woodley was some kind of fighter in the octagon. The man held the UFC welterweight title for close to three years – that’s no short period of time in the UFC world. On top of that Woodley bested the likes of Robbie Lawler, Darren Till and Stephen Thomson – notable competition all around. Now, however, Woodley is about to step into the boxing ring as a professional for the first time in his life. This at the age of 39 and after having lost his last four battles in the UFC.
Woodley’s opponent? Jake Paul. Yes, that Jake Paul. Although some may feel Woodley’s seriousness and combat sport experience will allow him to defeat Paul in the ring when the two meet next Sunday in a Triller pay per view main event, legendary heavyweight Mike Tyson is of a different mind. “Jake’s gonna beat him,” Tyson said openly on his podcast. “Woodley’s not a puncher like that, that’s why he wants to fight this guy, to get his last payday probably.” Not that Tyson, who gets as much respect among UFC fans as he does boxing fans, doesn’t hold Woodley in high regard.
“I’m proud of them,” he said of both combatants. “He’s (Paul’s) fighting an experienced fighter. That’s so cool.” Paul has taken his share of criticism, not only for his obnoxious antics, but for not fighting any serious boxers. Paul, however, has rightly said that most boxers fight light competition when things start off. “I don’t know,” said Tyson, “Paul’s a real good striker, and I think people do him a disservice when they go in there and say, ‘He’s blonde-haired and blue-eyed, he’s a white boy’, and I think that also builds their courage up and causes them to get knocked out.”
Tyson may have had a well earned ferocious reputation back in the day, but the man has always been gifted with keen insight. He’s probably one of the most knowledgeable people on earth in regard to boxing’s long history. Tyson also knows from first hand experience what it’s like to engage in ring combat and the psychology that goes with it. That being said, Woodley has been working with the one and only Floyd Mayweather, who is clearly of a different mind than Tyson when it comes to this weekend’s fight with Paul. Woodley also appears to be determined to emerge from the battle victorious. In other words, he seems to see this bout as more than a lark.
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