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Never Mind His Nickname, Jake Paul Is Not Boxing’s “Problem Child”

By: Sean Crose

Now that Jake Paul has gone ahead and defeated a legitimate opponent – yes, Anderson Silva was still legitimate, despite his 47 years – it’s time to objectively look at the fighter known as “The Problem Child.” First off, Paul is just that – a fighter – and he should be viewed as such by the boxing community. Not an elite fighter, not a fighter set to win a world title, but an active and exciting fighter none the less, one who is growing in skill and possesses an impressive degree of power. Paul is also a terrific showman and is fun to watch in action.

That’s the good news. The bad news is Paul might be taking a good amount of air out of the world of boxing. Whose faut is that, though? Let’s face it, there’s not much air in the boxing world to begin with right now. Major fights are falling through and fighters themselves sometimes appear bored by the idea of facing name competition (Does Devin Haney really seem excited about the fact he’s likely to face Vasyl Lomachenko in an undisputed lightweight title fight?). Up until very recently, 2022 had been a good year for the sport. At the moment, however, it’s a wasteland. That might be an exaggeration, but one could understand why someone would be inclined to exaggerate. What guaranteed big fight is on the horizon?

So yes, Paul certainly fills a void with his willingness to challenge himself, his dedication to the craft of boxing and his unique ability to promote a fight. The truth, though, is Paul can spend a large amount of ring time over the next few years fighting guys custom made for him – aging MMA stars. MMA is a legitimate and highly demanding sport, and organizations like the UFC pride themselves on providing exciting battles.

What that means in this particular case, though, is that Paul can feast on older, popular mixed martial artists who are more apt to engage in a brawl than to try to outbox him – all while using only a few of the techniques they’re used to employing in the octagon. For Paul, that’s a recipe for knockout win after knockout win.

We’ve yet to see how Paul would do against someone proficient in the footwork and punch precision that are the hallmarks of good boxing. While it’s true boxing and MMA are similar – they’re similar in the way American football is to Rugby. In short, they’re two entirely different disciplines.

But Paul isn’t to blame for a steady diet of older UFC guys. He’s wanted to fight professional boxers. He’s SIGNED CONTRACTS to fight professional boxers. And, ultimately, they’ve proven unable or unwilling to share the ring with him. We’re not talking elite level boxers, by the way. We’re talking boxers who are at or slightly above Paul’s level, not famous, perhaps, but recognizable enough to bring in the pay per view numbers. Guys like Tommy Fury and Hasim Rahman Jr, who were supposed to fight Paul, but never made it to the opening bell.

The bottom line? It’s okay for serious fans to not be entirely happy with the rise of Jake Paul – but it’s not okay to say the problem with boxing lies with him. Hey, at least he’s in exciting fights. Not great fights, but exciting ones. And sometimes that’s all you need….for a period of time.

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