Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury
Preparations for Floyd Mayweather’s fight with Conor McGregor evoked strong emotions and extreme shots in equal measure. Many of us in the boxing industry have been betting. When MMA fans rushed to support McGregor, the odds of stopping Mayweather – seemingly the only realistic outcome – were around 3/5. I remember putting down around £500 to make £300 with Mayweather 10pround, but for months later he wished he had played the money that changed his life. How Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury is coming February 25ththere is a temptation to compensate for the excessive caution of 2017.
There are similarities on the surface. Fury, although he can boast of only eight professional fights (12 amateur fights), has been associated with boxing all his life and is the younger brother of the world heavyweight champion. Yes, he became a household name thanks to his famous siblings and his appearance on the reality show Love Island, but a certain lineage is assumed. Conversely, Jake Paul, while perhaps a born athlete who competed in several sports as a child, did not set foot in a boxing gym until 2018. Unlike McGregor, he had no serious combat sports experience, and despite the undeniable progress he’s made since then, Jake should perhaps be a broader underdog than the Irishman. However, “The Problem Child” is actually the bookmakers’ favourite, and the longtime boxer winning by KO/TKO – a score that earned many of us cashback in 2017 – is a very attractive 11/2 score.
But let’s delve a little deeper. Muscular Fury finished four of their eight fights at range, but the combined record of these opponents is a ridiculous 24-176-3. Prospects in the UK are often fed a diet of hopeless journeymen early on, but this is gross even by these standards. Tommy completed only 20 professional rounds and half of his opponents had no victories in their bouts; three out of four remain without a victory. The two fighters Fury met with winning records both beat him to the distance – Jordan Grant has since been retained, as has Daniel Bocianski.
Not only has Fury faced relatively undemanding opposition, he has also been worryingly inactive, largely due to his outside commitments. TNT turned pro four years ago, averaging two fights a year – typical for a world-class operator, but anathema to a growing prospect.
It’s hard to compare Jake Paul’s embryonic career as he didn’t fight boxers, but we do know he had six fights in three years (22 completed rounds) and worked diligently in the gym between fights. Paul certainly has other things on his mind, but he’s been working hard to fill the gap left by his late start. He last fought in October, defeating UFC legend Anderson Silva, but Fury will be out of the ring for 10 months before their matchup in Saudi Arabia.
As mentioned, Fury is the first real boxer Paul has met, but that doesn’t mean he feasted on knockouts. Silva is 47, but notoriously beat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr – an eternal disappointment, sure, but still a former world champion from a fighting family – in 2021. Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley (twice) – both MMA stars of their time – were similarly defeated by Paul. They may not boast significant boxing skills – Askren in particular has been a much greater wrestling specialist in his mixed martial arts career – but they are combat athletes who train at a very high level. If you delve into Paul’s record, the progression makes logical sense. He started fighting another YouTuber, then a basketball player in front of Askren, a fighter but not known for hitting. Then came the better striker at Woodley, followed by Silva who won over the boxer, and now Fury, the first “true” pro.
I’d back Silva and maybe even Woodley to beat the journeymen that Fury swept aside. While Fury only fought boxers, a reasonable argument could be made that Paul defeated an outnumbered opponent. All this serves to level the playing field before a trivia clash that may turn out to be closer than many expect.