For the first time in his career, Jake Paul was pushed to the limit.
The 24-year-old social influencer turned boxer had to battle through all eight rounds with former UFC champion Tyron Woodley but he still got the job done with a split decision victory. The scorecards were somewhat controversial considering it appeared Paul was well ahead in total rounds but in the end two judges gave him the fight 77-75 and 78-74 with the third official giving the Woodley the nod with a 77-75 score.
“Where’s that judge at?” Paul said when reacting to the split decision. “I don’t know what they were looking at. But still got the victory.”
“I don’t know what to say. He’s a tough opponent. It was a tougher fight than I expected. My legs felt weird. I don’t’ know what’s wrong with me. All respect to Tyron. He’s a Hall of Famer. He put up a good fight. I have nothing but respect for him. There’s no hard feelings. This is a dream come true.”
For his part, Woodley disagreed with the loss and he all but demanded an immediate rematch afterwards.
“I feel like I won the fight,” Woodley said. “Jake was a great opponent. F*ck the [Tommy] Fury fight, me and Jake can run it back.”
Woodley then came face-to-face with Paul again asking for his rematch, which was met with a condition from the now 4-0 boxer after they made a pre-fight bet that the loser would get the winner’s name tattooed on them.
“Put f*cking Jake Paul on your leg [with a tattoo] and then we can run it back,” Paul said as he shook Woodley’s hand, who appeared to agree to the condition.
Prior to all the talk in the ring, Paul and Woodley battled it out for all eight rounds, although there were only a few truly meaningful exchanges during the fight.
Unlike hie last couple of appearances, Paul showed a lot more respect for Woodley’s power but he was still pawing away with a good lead jab while staying out of range for any counter punches. Woodley did unleash one big right hand towards the end of the opening round but Paul moved out of the way before anything could land.
While Woodley was largely just throwing a single punch a time, Paul was setting up his combinations including several shots to the body and a flurry that ended by going to the head. Paul definitely got Woodley’s attention with the shots he was landing, although he wasn’t doing a ton of damage.
As the fight faded into the third round, Woodley was finally throwing his punches with a bit more conviction but he still wasn’t landing on target with regularity. When Woodley did move forward, Paul clipped him with a well-timed uppercut that connected flush.
Just when it looked like Paul was taking over, Woodley came forward with a devastating overhand right that blasted Paul just behind the ear. It appeared that Paul was rocked momentarily, although he was able to avoid any more big punches before the fourth round ended.
Facing adversity for the first time in his young career, Paul made the necessary adjustments to come out strong in the next round, sticking his jab in Woodley’s face and connecting with a nice left hook during a big exchange. With Paul still landing more punches, Woodley’s activity slowed down as he continued to march forward but failed to really connect with anything convincing.
Judging by his movement, Paul was losing steam in the later rounds but he was still keeping Woodley at bay with his jab and then occasionally launching a big right hand that would back off the former UFC champion. Woodley’s same strategy continued to play out as he would launch a big punch but then not really follow with anything behind it.
With less than two minutes remaining, Paul snapped off a nice left jab followed by a big left hook that had Woodley shaking his head as if to say the shot didn’t land but it was clearly still a glancing blow. As the final bell was approaching, Paul was inviting Woodley to come after him but nothing much happened as the fight came to a close.
Paul immediately jumped up on the ropes to celebrate, although he received a mixed reaction from the crowd after the fight ultimately went all eight rounds.
It’s tough to say how long it will be before Paul entertains another fight or perhaps the rematch with Woodley, especially as he hinted at a break following a very busy 18 months spent primarily in training while preparing for fights.
“Honestly, we’ll see,” Paul said. “I’ve been boxing for 18 months now. I haven’t stopped. I might chill out for a second. This is the second biggest pay-per-view event of the whole entire year behind my brother [Logan] and Floyd Mayweather.”