We need to talk about Jake Paul’s October 29th boxing match with Anderson Silva
First, let’s get this out of the way- I’m buying this fight, and there’s nothing you can say to convince me that I shouldn’t.
Fans of the “sweet science” of boxing will tell you that this entire spectacle is unbecoming of their beloved sport.
So what? Gathering around to see two men that have agreed to battle until one relents is as old the earth itself. Boxing was born out of the sport of prizefighting, and the people responsible for keeping boxing relevant were never able to escape the temptation to keep prizefighting as the central motivation for everyone involved in the sport. Why has Mixed Martial Arts surpassed boxing? Because it’s structured in a way that the people that participate have to love the sport more than they love the money.
So when a prizefight comes along between a modern internet celebrity and a former MMA world champion, and it isn’t pretending to be anything other than a prizefight, it’s refreshing.
And for those of you that think I’m getting tricked by the celebrity of it all- my generation is the one that repeatedly rejected the idea of celebrity boxing. And why did we do that? Because above anything, we want to see people that can actually fight. Todd Bridges and Vanilla Ice weren’t going to give us anything better than we can see in the stands at a Raiders game.
Yes, Jake Paul is practically brand new to the sport, but he’s taking it seriously, and wins over professional fighters in Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley show that he’s not just some Hollywood pretty boy.
The other problem with celebrity boxing is that most people we tried to throw out there were beloved for some type of artistic or athletic contribution to society. Nobody hated Screech, or Manute Bol, or Refrigerator Perry. And hate is one of the three pillars, aside from skill and storyline, that sells a fight.
Who is more hateable than Jake Paul? And people don’t just hate Jake Paul, they hate people that don’t hate Jake Paul. More than half the money that came in on Floyd Mayweather fights came from people rooting for his demise, and with Jake Paul, it’s going to be the exact same.
People want to see Anderson Silva, a man that defended the middleweight UFC title 10 times over almost 7 years, score a win for Generation X over the entire Zoomer generation. And they’re willing to put money into Jake Paul’s pocket in order to see it happen.
At the end of the day, sports are as much about entertainment as they are human accomplishment, and Jake Paul has tapped into finding a way to entertain people. On October 29th, I’m going to be one of those people.
Let that sink in.