Slowly but surely, Jake Paul is winning people over.
This past weekend, Paul continued his assault of former MMA champions when he won a split decision over Tyron Woodley in an 8-round cruiserweight boxing match. The fight with Woodley was set up following Paul’s first-round TKO over Ben Askren earlier this year. Even after his loss to Paul, Askren was critical of what the former Disney Channel star brings to combat sports and was convinced Woodley, his friend and former training partner, would demolish Paul. However, following their bout on Sunday, even Askren has to admit that Paul has impressed him.
“I thought Tyron was pretty solid for his boxing debut,” Askren said on Instagram Live (h/t Fight Hub TV). “I know a lot of you guys are pretty frustrated he didn’t beat up Jake Paul. Listen, that’s what I wanted to happen too. I wanted him to knock Jake Paul’s head off, he didn’t get it done.
“The other thing that happened, for me, I gained a lot of respect for Jake Paul. I know he got a TKO on me but I knew I wasn’t very good at boxing. I told all of you that I’m not a very good boxer I just think I’m better than he is. So when he got a knockdown on me, yeah whatever, he didn’t earn my respect. Watching him versus Tyron, I have a lot of respect for Tyron’s striking ability and I think Tyron won the fight but either way, it was a highly competitive bout and I think it’s pretty evident - and the only way you’re not gonna think this is if you really hate the guy and I don’t hate him, I’m whatever towards him - it’s pretty evident to me that he’s worked pretty hard at this and he’s pretty tough. He took some pretty big shots from Tyron and he kept on fighting. So in that respect, he has earned my respect, for sure, in a way that he didn’t in my fight or any of his fights previously.”
Askren went on to say that he still believes Woodley won the fight, scoring it 5-3 in favor of Woodley forcing the action and scoring the more damaging punches, though he did admit that Paul “out-volumed” Woodley. Fortunately, Askren says, he thinks Woodley will get a second chance to take out Paul.
“I think him and Tyron happens again and here’s why: so while I’ll definitely admit that Jake is working hard at this and he has achieved a relatively high level of boxing proficiency, I think going from the level he’s at to a world champion level is a long ways off,” Askren said. “Tyron was a world champion in mixed martial arts and I think I’ve had the conversation with him and he would recognize that him versus a world champion in boxing is a tough matchup. It’s not gonna go all that well.
“Now in boxing, I think there’s less big-name guys than in MMA, for sure, and so you’re not gonna get to the big name boxers unless you go to the very, very top of the heap. If he goes to the top of the heap, he’s not gonna be competitive with them. He needs someone else whose a big name across the bill from him to sell the fight. If it’s him versus someone we’ve never heard of, it makes it not that interesting.... The fight that makes the most sense is him fighting Tyron again. There’s now a history, there’s a backstory, Tyron also has a big name, the first fight was competitive. Who else could you make a case for?”
A number of fighters have thrown their names in the ring to face Paul, with the current front-runner being Tommy Fury, the reality television star and brother of heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury. The younger Fury won a unanimous decision on the undercard of the Paul-Woodley event and then tried to set up a post-fight encounter much like Woodley and Paul had at the Paul-Askren fight. Other names have also been thrown out, including Anderson Silva and Nate Diaz, though Woodley is angling hard for an immediate rematch. Even if he doesn’t get it though, Askren says he’s still really happy for his teammate.
“I thought Tyron looked good in his boxing debut,” Askren concluded. “I enjoyed watching Tyron box. I’m really happy they made a bunch of money. Jake Paul, he earned my respect. It’s pretty evident he’s been working hard. It’s pretty evident, at this point, that he’s not a p*ssy. He took a few big shots, kept fighting. So that’s what I got.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
This bitch will pull out from the fight ♂️ https://t.co/DsIucUeZjG— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) September 2, 2021
The worst fake champion in history— Nordine Taleb (@TNT83MMA) September 3, 2021
This clown pulled out of our fight in November because he didn’t” train enough”— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) September 3, 2021
You’re my bitch, now hold my pocket. https://t.co/mWrRwlogtp
This man keeps taking about pulling out of a fight, when he was the one that PULLED OUT THE FIGHT!— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) September 3, 2021
Please, make it make sense! You sound like you want me to pull out so bad for some weird reason. #PullOutPete! https://t.co/mWrRwlogtp
Man ain’t wrong.
When Vicente Luque is only just now getting his black belt, that’s how you know a gym is legit.
Francis Ngannou has style.
Din Thomas is a treasure.
I understand his Portuguese better than I do his English. And I don't speak Portuguese. https://t.co/uDbUsMRwhQ— Din Thomas (@DinThomas) September 3, 2021
It’s impossible not to love Bobby Knuckles.
I hope everyone has had a good week. Since Monday is Labor Day here in the States, TMR will be returning on Tuesday next week so enjoy the long weekend and see you then!
Who wins this weekend?
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