Introduced to us as a viral influencer in the mold of his brother Logan, Jake Paul has pivoted in recent years, scaling back his social media presence to concentrate on boxing, trying to legitimize his fighting aspirations by booking pay-per-view cards with UFC alums Anderson Silva, Tyron Woodley and Ben Askrin.
Since his early beginnings on the celebrity fighting circuit, Paul’s profile has grown immensely, though his undefeated streak has done little to quiet his skeptics, many of whom still consider the 26-year-old of TikTok and YouTube fame a novelty act, a tourist making a mockery of the sport. Paul would take exception to that characterization, believing wholeheartedly in his boxing prowess, even as others express valid doubts about his credentials in that realm. Conscious of this perception, Paul came out swinging in a recent interview with Bomani Jones, insulting the popular HBO and ESPN personality in a tense exchange that will air on an upcoming episode of Game Theory.
“I don’t plan on losing. I don’t train to lose. I feel like that’s probably your mindset. You know a lot of people try to project their mindsets onto me,” said Paul, clearly triggered by Jones, who had asked what would happen if he eventually lost, perhaps to his upcoming opponent Tommy Fury (brother of world heavyweight champ Tyson Fury) later this month. “I’m going to be honest, bro. I don’t know who the f--- you are. My PR team set up this interview.”
That’s a pretty hostile response to what was posed as a fairly innocuous question, though that resentment has become a trademark of Paul’s boxing persona, taking a combative approach to mainstream media, treating each defiant exchange as a content opportunity that can help grow his brand. While Paul has succeeded in the sense that he’s no longer viewed as a gimmick, he also hasn’t fought anyone of real consequence, with Fury representing his stiffest competition yet.
After holding his own against a revolving door of opponents from MMA backgrounds, many of whom were either past their prime or fighting above their usual weight class, Paul can change the narrative by beating Fury, who he’s been trying to get in the ring for years following cancelations in 2021 and again last summer after scrapping their scheduled bout at Madison Square Garden.
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