Jake Paul is gaining a rep, albeit grudgingly, and not in across the board fashion, but he is seen by more and more critics as having a solid knack for self promotion.
Yes, ok, this is THE AGE for that; we are smack dab in a wholly unparalleled time frame in which masses of people exist as a “brand” more than a being.
We don’t live our lives as they used to be lived, we instead perform, and pose, and offer an approximation of our identity to the world, with high hopes that we will be accepted, liked, loved. Approval from strangers is the new opiate of the masses, organized religion having fallen out of favor with properly skeptical cynics.
In that schema, Jake Paul stands out, having built a base of popularity, or at least a formidable profile in the last seven or so years. I have come around to see him not as a dabbler and con artist but as a successful product of his times.
Nope, he’s not infallible. Yet missteps don’t appear to sap his confidence reservoir. He, like so very many of his generation, doesn’t feel shame in the same way boomers, and Gen Xers did and do.
Take this Tweet, tossed up there by the 25 year old PPV pugilist/promoter/agent provocateur:
How dare he take aim at living legend George Foreman, the pre eminent wiseman of the sphere, so very laudable for his athletic exploits performed within six decades, but also for his service to humanity post pugilism. Foreman, age 73, spends most of his time in the public sphere as a preacher, sharing his takes on Bible verses.
I reached out to the puncher-preacher to get his take on that Paul tweet. Jake referenced an event which unfolded on April 26, 1975, in Toronto. Foreman was then 26, a man in motion emotionally, as his ego’s shell has been pierced and pummeled the year before by Muhammad Ali in Zaire.
Impregnable no more, Foreman didn’t care for the taste of losing, after running his record to 40-0.
How to bounce back?
One suggestion resonated with the Texan—-how bout he trounce five men, one after the other? That would restore at least a portion of his aura, it was theorized. And it would make him a few bucks, to boot.
So, in a ring plunked down in Maple Leaf Gardens, five sacrificial offerings climbed the steps to get their medicine, which would heal Foreman’s dented psyche—or at least give Howard Cosell solid fodder for those watching on “Wide World of Sports.”
Alonzo Johnson succumbed first, then Jerry Judge hit the deck. Terry Daniels next played the part of the lamb as the GOAT himself, Muhammad Ali, skewered the hulking colossus who he outed as mortal six months prior. Ali heckled a fatigued Foreman when Charley Polite went the distance as the stunt’s efficacy dwindled. The fifth contestant, Boone Kirkman, made big George huff harder, and took punishment for all three scheduled rounds.
Cosell but of course attempted to burnish his cred by denouncing the performance, which he full well knew was an exercise in revenue generation, television schedule filling, and promotion, for that second Ali-Foreman battle which never did come off.
It was what it was, presented with appropriately excessive fanfare. Were those in attendance or watching on Wide World left fuming, having expected a magnificent banquet only to be underwhelmed by Swanson-TV dinner slop? Only those who exemplified the Barnum adage, stooge suckers who needed to be chided for not doing their due diligence. Johnson, Judge, Polite, Daniels and Kirkman were not in the lead up presented as Quarry, Lyle, Norton, Frazier and Ali, after all, even if Cosell’s closing critique suggested that.
So, what to make of young Jake Paul’s derision in describing the exhibition in Toronto?
I put it to George himself. True or false, George, was this spectacle as bad as the Jake Paul Tweet made it out to be?
“I can agree all the way,” George told NY FIGHTS, “but ‘not worth the price of admission,’ that I can’t say. Can you imagine people sending old tickets stubs and asking me, ‘Can I have my money back?’”
The hearty chuckle made clear this was a rhetorical question, and that this Jake Paul Twitter take rivaled Cosell’s for inexactitude.