It turns out Jake Paul’s career actually ended before boxing eventually saved him.
Back in 2017, Jake’s older brother Logan Paul uploaded a video to YouTube during his visit to Aokigahara in Japan, which is a place known as the “suicide forest” due to its infamy as a site where many people have taken their own lives over the years. The video showed Logan and his friends after discovering the recently deceased corpse of a man who had hanged himself in the forest.
The video generated over 6 million views within 24 hours, but the blowback lasted far longer. Logan was heavily criticized by his followers as well as other celebrities and even politicians reacting to the cruel and insensitive nature of the footage shown online.
Despite having no involvement with the video, Jake still faced recourse for his brother’s actions — and suddenly his career was being threatened.
“I had nothing to do with it but now it’s like, ‘The Paul brothers suck.’” Jake said during a segment on HBO Real Sports that aired on Tuesday. “I lost a $10 million deal that week.
“I was basically blackballed for 18 months from the industry. No auditions, no brand deals, no sponsorships. It was one of the worst moments of my life.”
Logan eventually called his terrible judgment about the video he posted from Japan “the biggest blessing” in his life because it made him realize that some things are bigger and more important than just getting clicks online.
.@loganpaul tells @arielhelwani the backlash to his video from Japan’s Aokigahara forest was “the biggest blessing” in his life because of the personal growth that followed. pic.twitter.com/pOxOrly1GH— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) February 28, 2022
In the aftermath of that controversy, both Paul brothers struggled to regain the popularity they had commanded as social influencers, until the opportunity of a lifetime arose when another pair of siblings and YouTube celebrities called them out for a boxing match.
Video game enthusiast KSI and his younger brother Deji challenged Logan and Jake to meet them in the ring, and the event drew millions of eyeballs from a curious online fan base.
Jake ended up winning his fight by fifth-round TKO, but the experience was truly what changed him forever, because it was the moment he fell in love with boxing while also bouncing back from the incident that nearly destroyed everything he had built.
“Of all the stuff we had gone through recently with my brother and the cancellation and everyone wanting to see us fail, it was sort of like a f*** you to the world,” Jake said of his boxing debut. “You can’t beat me. I’m here to stay.”
Now 5-0 in his professional boxing career with four knockouts on his résumé, Jake has essentially put all of his other endeavors to the side as he focuses on combat sports.
He relocated full-time to Puerto Rico, where he trains year-round, and the 25-year-old has poured even more resources into his company Most Valuable Promotions, where, alongside ex-UFC chief financial officer Nakisa Bidarian, they’ve begun building a stable of fighters.
Jake recently helped to set up a highly anticipated showdown between two of the top women’s boxers in the world, Amanda Serrano and Irish star Katie Taylor. Serrano will earn over $1 million for the fight, which is the most she’s ever earned for a single bout.
Beyond that, Jake is also planning his own return in August with an opponent to be named later, and he promises the best is yet to come for him in boxing.
“I like to be realistic,” Paul said of his combat aspirations. “Me losing is not realistic. [I’m] unbeatable. I have one-punch knockout power. Someone has to fight me perfectly defensively to get out of there alive.”