UFC welterweight Matt Brown can’t be certain how high the ceiling goes for Jake Paul in his boxing career, but he can’t help but compliment the 25-year-old fighter’s win over a legitimate legend in Anderson Silva this past Saturday.
In a fight considered his toughest test to date, Paul secured a unanimous decision over Silva. Despite an impressive win, he still received criticism for failing to face a professional boxer rather than an MMA fighter with boxing experience.
While Silva didn’t have a deep boxing resume, Brown argues Paul is still facing much stiffer competition through six fights in his career than almost every legitimate pro boxer with championship aspirations.
“Look the fact is if you look at the vast majority of pro boxers’ careers, I don’t want to pump up Jake Paul too much, but he’s fought tougher guys than 99 percent of pro boxers in their first [six] fights – regardless [of] whether these guys are real boxers or not,” Brown said on The Fighter vs. The Writer.
“Most guys’ first four pro fights outside of the [Vasyl] Lomachenko’s of the world and guys like that, they’re not fighting world-class athletes. Tyron Woodley, [Nate Robinson], even Ben Askren, Anderson Silva, these guys are world-class athletes. You can’t take that away from Jake Paul.”
The attempts to discredit Paul’s latest win have largely come down to Silva’s age — he’s 47 years old — and boxing resume despite the fact that he holds a win over multi-time boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Brown doesn’t understand the criticism, especially when taking a deeper look at Silva’s skill set and the dangers he presented in the fight with Paul.
“You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due,” Brown said. “You’ve got to show the respect where he’s earned. Where he has earned is most guys that have a lack of experience like Jake Paul does, they don’t perform under the lights like that. They break down. Some of the games Anderson was playing — I mean, you’re going against freaking Anderson Silva in your [sixth] pro boxing match with millions of eyes on you. That’s to be respected.
“I don’t know if Anderson was at his best, but Jake f****** beat him. You’ve got to give that credit to him.”
In the aftermath of the fight, Paul has already started looking ahead to what comes next in his career.
While a potential showdown with Tommy Fury appears to be one option, Paul has repeatedly called for a fight against UFC star Nate Diaz, who will hit unrestricted free agency in the coming months after completing his most recent contract with the UFC.
Diaz definitely commands an audience whenever he competes, but Brown doesn’t actually consider that a tougher test than the one Paul just passed by getting through Silva.
“He beat Anderson Silva – that’s commendable,” Brown said. “That’s to be respected. We know you’re legit now. That’s the way I see it. You’ve earned the respect now. You’re legit. I still don’t really care. You’re still just a mid-level boxer at best to me, but where do you go from here? That’s where it gets complicated.
“He called out Nate Diaz, and I’m like, that’s a step down from Anderson. Not just in terms of skill, but in terms of size – a huge stepdown.”
Regardless of the opponent, Brown said he’s interested to see where Paul goes from here, a statement he probably never would have uttered when the social influencer started dabbling in boxing a couple of years ago.
“I want to see what he can do,” Brown said. “He surprised me that he beat Anderson Silva. There’s not a controversial decision. He beat Anderson Silva. Knocked him down in the last round. I want to see what he’s capable of now, personally.
“I know a lot of people were saying this before ‘fight a real boxer!’ He fought tougher boxers than most pro boxers did early in their career. I’m kind of interesting in seeing what he’s capable of now.”