Love him or hate him, Jake Paul has become a legit force in boxing. The “Problem Child” continues drawing crowds and racking up victories as he learns on the job, making money for everyone involved.
“But when will he fight a REAL boxer?” wail Paul's critics.
Paul, the one-time Disney actor, and YouTube superstar turned professional boxer, provides the answer Sunday. He will face a “real boxer” in the undefeated Tommy “TNT” Fury of Great Britain in the eight-round cruiserweight main event Sunday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Where To Watch Paul vs Fury
Paul vs. Fury will stream live on ESPN+ PPV (2 p.m. ET / 11 p.m. PT), the exclusive digital distributor in the US. Additionally, it will be available via cable and satellite pay-per-view providers and priced at $49.99.
Paul weighed in at 183.6 pounds, Fury at 184.5. pounds.
Fury (8-0, 4 KOs) made his pro debut in December 2018. Paul (6-0, 4 KOs) started off goofing around against fellow YouTube star KSI, then decking former NBA star Nate Robinson. Forget about those outings. Since then, Paul's skills have measurably improved as he knocked off former MMA champions Ben Askren, Tyrone Woodley (twice), and Anderson Silva.
Paul has been set twice to face Fury, younger half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Both times, Fury called them bouts off, recently in 2021, citing “medical reasons.” Paul teed up heavyweight prospect Hasim Rahman Jr., who left Paul holding the bag days before their bout when he admitted he wasn't going to make the agreed-on catchweight. Insert the sad “Price Is Right” wah wah horn here.
But… but… not good enough for Paul's many detractors.
Fury rolled up his undefeated record of four and six-round bouts against opponents who are a combined 34-176-5. Fury is arguably more famous in the UK for his model good looks and appearances on the reality show “Love Island,” along with being part of the UK's boxing Kardashian family.
There's been no love lost between Fury and Paul in their years-long war of words, and the trash talk continued in Riyadh this week.
The verbal jabs are flying 🥶 (via @MostVPromotions)
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) February 24, 2023
What can you expect to see if you put down your fifty bucks? Our NYFights.com team renders their expert opinions, with help from some knowledgeable special guests.
Marquis Johns, writer: Jake Paul finally gets Tommy Fury this Sunday in Saudi Arabia. While “third time's the charm” on this long-anticipated matchup, I don't see how Tommy avoids the right hook that Paul has given everyone on the other side trouble with. This will start slow but end quickly. I'm going with Paul by stoppage in 4-6 rounds.
Colin Morrison, writer: Jake Paul will get the better of the two novice professionals meeting on Sunday. Strip away all the hype, and he is the more dedicated boxer of the two. Tommy Fury isn't very good. Paul to win a decision.
David E. Phillips, writer: I hate to be the miserablist on the panel, but I'm completely unqualified to make a prediction on Paul vs. Fury. One, I have never watched either fight, because two, I have no interest in pretend boxers. At the same time, I do understand that this is where we are in boxing and the sport itself is largely to blame. The lack of high-quality, big-fight matchups has left a gap in the game that has been filled by YouTube celebrities and guys who have a recognizable name and little else. So, while I can't hazard a guess on who's going to win this stunt fight, I do know a guaranteed loser: the sport of boxing.
Jolene Mizzone, former head matchmaker at Main Events and President of Fighters First Management: Jake Paul (TKO5) – This is the perfect match for both guys, they are on the same level. I have seen Jake Paul get better, but I have not seen Tommy Fury get better, so I must give the edge to Paul.
Jacob Rodriguez: Christ, I can't believe I'm doing this.
I can't stand the celeb bullshit. But those are the times we live in, and I'm nothing if a team player so here it goes.
Paul wins this fight. Simply because he wouldn't have agreed to fight Fury if the Brit posed a real threat. As I assessed both of them, ironically they are similarly skilled; and that's not saying much. Both keep their hands down and both throw slap punches. Therefore, this fight can go either way. However, I give the edge to Paul-not because he can fight- but because he knows how to pick opponents that he knows he can beat. Paul by decision unless Fury manages to KO him.
Michael Woods, Founder and Editor: Now folks all think Team Jake Paul are brainiacs who are super shrewd in foe picking. There will come a time when that perception gets challenged. Like Sunday. Watch the professional pride rise up, and some good genetics to propel Tommy Fury to the shocker stoppage win over Jake Paul, within four rounds. No tears, Jake fans, imagine the immensity of the comeback and sequel scrap.
Ryan O'Hara, writer: Paul by split decision.
Jamel Herring, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, US Olympian, former world lightweight champion, and ESPN commentator: 50-50 fight.
Seniesa Estrada, two-division world champion, told NYFights: “I’m picking @jakepaul to win. They are very similar in some ways, but Jake is much hungrier and can get the win by being smart using hurky-jerky movement and countering off of it.”
Tyson Fury, WBC World Heavyweight Champion: “It's going to be fun, and I expect Tommy to chin him. If he doesn't he can stay in Saudi Arabia.”
Josh Taylor, WBO World Lightweight Champion: “I think it's actually a hard fight for Tommy. I'm actually edging a little bit towards Jake Paul with the more I'm watching and the more I'm seeing, but it wouldn't be a great look for Tommy Fury if he gets beat.”
Mike Tyson, former heavyweight champion, in attendance in Saudi Arabia per Boxing Social: “I never saw Fury fight. I don't know – I don't think he's gonna be able to beat Jake Paul. Jake Paul, he's getting better and better as he fights, and I don't know if they brought him here to lose. So, we're gonna find out.”
We got in touch with Ahmed Elbiali, an Egyptian-born light heavyweight, has been a sparring partner of both Fury and Paul. He told The Sun newspaper: “For some reason, I see Jake winning. And I'm friends with Tyson, I'm acquaintances with Tommy. It's no disrespect, but in this game it's sometimes who wants it more and I feel Jake wants it more. I can see him winning by knockout but more so a close or controversial decision. Because both are going to do their best not to get knocked out. They both don't want to take the chance of scoring a knockout and risk getting knocked out in the process. I see Jake winning a decision, maybe very close and enough to do a rematch.”
Makabu vs. Jack Fight Predictions
In the co-feature, Ilunga Makabu (29-2, 25 KOs) will defend his WBC cruiserweight world title against former two-weight world champion Badou Jack (27-3-3, 16 KOs). Makabu weighed in at 198.5 pounds, and Jack at 199.8 pounds.
Johns: Badou Jack has a chance to become the new WBC cruiserweight champion and, barring the usual cuts in a Jack fight, should win easily against reigning champion Ilunga Makabu. Makabu got a gift decision against Thabiso Mchunu last year in Ohio, and I don't see how he overcomes Jack. I got Jack by late stoppage in the championship rounds.
Morrison: Despite maybe being out of his weight class, I think Badou Jack will have too much ring intelligence for Ilunga Makabu. Jack to win a close decision. As an aside, how mad is it that an eight-rounder between two novices tops the card over this world title bout? Boxing in 2023!
Mizzone: Makabu (TKO9) – Makabu is no joke, he has the power, and Jack has the boxing skills, I must lean towards Makabu in this one. They both got a SD in their last fights, but Makabu's competition and Jack's competition were in two different leagues. I also think that Makabu is much hungrier, which makes a difference.
As far as the winner of each fight fighting each other, no way! Paul's people are very smart with who they match him with. I don't think right now he should fight either guy.
Matthew Aguilar: Going with Jack by SD. Is there another fight besides that one?
Final Falkentalk: Jake Paul is a brilliant matchmaker. He's pursued Tommy Fury with such enthusiasm for a reason. Fury wouldn't be a boxer or a reality TV star if he weren't related to John and Tyson. His conditioning is suspect, and he hasn't faced a single serious test in the ring so far. Paul's will and work ethic serve him well, and he's got real right-hand power he's learning how to deliver with more authority every fight.
Paul will score a knockdown, maybe two. Fury would be wise not to get up, but perhaps he'll survive to the final bell. Either way, Fury suffers a humiliating defeat at the hands of Jake Paul, cashes a multimillion-dollar paycheck, and can stop wasting time playing around at the Sweet Science.