Jake Paul’s next fight: the impossible problem of finding a suitable opponent for the social media star

Jake Paul’s next fight: the impossible problem of finding a suitable opponent for the social media star


With the recent cancellation of his August 6 show with Hasim Rahman Jr., it’s becoming clear that Jake Paul is having trouble finding suitable opponents. It’s a complex issue with no clear solution because Paul is simply an aspiring boxer. Paul is also a social media superstar and his profile is the man leading up to the fight in pay-per-view attractions.

When a fight should be on the payoff, it takes an opponent with the right appeal. Up to this point in Paul’s 5-0 career, he has fought social media influencers, former NBA stars and former mixed martial arts champions. Paul has clearly improved as a boxer and is showing natural power, even though he has scored some truly exciting knockouts against men with no real boxing experience, his success and profile begs the question of facing a “real boxer” in his next outing.

Paul tried to fight Tommy Fury, the younger brother of two-time heavyweight champion Tommy Fury, but the first fight fell through when Fury was injured and the second attempt was canceled because of family ties that prevented Fury from entering the United States. Boxing promoter and crime boss Daniel Kinahan. An attempt to save the day by putting in Rahman, the son of former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman Sr., was aborted when Rahman failed to make the contractually agreed weight for the season.

You can blame Paul and his team for trying to force Rahman to drop from 230 pounds to 200 and then 205 after negotiations – or that Rahman would have been “astronomical” for agreeing to the weight he was later able to reach. It doesn’t matter before.

Rahman and Fury were options because they have — admittedly slim — professional boxing resumes and their last names carry at least some cache with fans.

So, the question becomes: what now?

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Paul hasn’t fought since December 2021, which means he’s wasted a year of his athleticism at the age of 25, assuming he doesn’t make a quick fight in the next four months. Perhaps this has allowed him to improve significantly by spending more time in the gym, but we haven’t seen this hold true in the ring.

The call continues for Paul to face a real boxer. But that has to be balanced against the opposition if fans are going to pay for the privilege of not just watching. And, to fill the requirements, he must be someone with the appropriate skill level for a 5-0 fighter.

The WBC claimed that Paul Rahman’s victory would earn him a spot in their cruiserweight ranks. Especially since many people do not understand the ambiguity of the statement, it is understandable that Paul is not going to crack the 10s. Kujak, is 11-0 against opponents with a combined record of 110-253-15.

Will a fight with someone like Kujak, who sits at the top 40 of the sanctioned body, be the right fight for Paul? Absolutely. Would a fight with former MMA champions Tyron Woodley or Ben Askren or Tommy Fury draw any meaningful interest? no way.

In the year One very possible option for Paul’s opponent in early 2023 is Nate Diaz, a highly-touted UFC fighter who is expected to finish his UFC contract in September when he faces Kamizat Chimeev at UFC 279. Diaz vs Paul will probably box. A box office smash, with both men selling big with their unique personalities and Diaz fans hoping to see their man, “True Fighter” cost Paul his job. Diaz also fits the profile of a fighter in that Paul naturally wants to fight smaller — or in Rahman’s case, a huge cut in weight — which gives Paul a physical advantage in the fight.

However, if Paul beats Diaz in that hypothetical fight, it will do nothing to address the criticism that Paul has not fought a “real boxer.” And, therefore, the cycle simply begins again.

The reality is that there is probably no next “right” opponent for Jake Paul, until one wrong move completely ruins his career, or there are enough men, proven professional boxers, or at least a list of bad choices to go undefeated. Even if it’s a second- or third-tier title — God knows boxing has enough and bodies always looking for a payday — and he’s got a chance to prove he’s got what it takes to hang with a true professional boxer.



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