On Sunday, Jake Paul and Tommy Fury finally will step into the ring to face off in a one-on-one showdown. The fight is the third attempt to get the brash young men, both known more for their non-boxing exploits than their fight careers, in the ring.
The fight has been branded as “The Truth” by promoters and there may be no more apt label as much will be revealed about both Paul and Fury (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN+ PPV).
Despite facing a constant stream of criticism from boxing “traditionalists,” Paul has proven a dedicated boxer who uses his resources, gained from time as an actor on Disney Channel and a successful career as an influencer, to put together serious training camps. Still, his profile has led to a non-traditional list of opponents because he can’t face the low-level, no-name competition that makes up the start of almost every professional boxer’s career.
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Paul started his career with a first-round stoppage of fellow social media influencer AnEsonGib before a vicious viral knockout of former NBA star Nate Robinson. He then set his sights on stars from the world of mixed martial arts, knocking out an out-of-shape and unmotivated Ben Askren before a split decision against former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
“I always take every fight seriously. I’ve fought UFC champions. Tyron Woodley was winning the UFC championship when I was on Disney Channel. So, when Tommy says that he’s been doing this his whole life, none of that means anything to me,” Paul said at the final press conference. “I’ve always trained harder and tougher than all of my opponents. And I want it more. I have more of a why. I have more of a purpose. I’m Tommy’s end goal. This is the biggest opportunity of his life. He’s never been on a stage like this. He’s never gotten a payday like this. He was getting paid peanuts compared to this.”
When the first planned fight with Fury fell through due to a Fury injury, Paul rematched Woodley and scored another crushing knockout. Another fight with Fury was canceled in late 2022 when Fury was denied entry into the United States, leading Paul to schedule a fight with Hasim Rahman Jr., only for that fight to also fall apart when Rahman took issue with the weight limit in the contract he’d signed for the fight.
“Third time’s a charm, and we’re here. I’m in super fit condition,” Fury said at the final press conference. “I’m ready to go put this all to bed because for the past two and a half years it’s been, ‘When are you fighting Jake Paul?’ To even mention my name in the same sentence is disrespectful to me, a person who’s been boxing my whole life. I’m going to clinically knock this guy out early.”
The planned fights with Fury and Rahman were attempts to address one of the common criticism’s of Paul’s career: he’d never been in the ring with someone who’d spent years training as a professional boxer.
Paul would go on to fight someone who’d had success in the boxing ring in his next fight, taking on UFC legend Anderson Silva this past September. Silva had previously defeated former middleweight boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and presented an interesting challenge with his length, awkward style and legitimate skills despite spending the majority of his life as a mixed martial artist.
Paul scored a late knockdown of Silva and took a decision victory but again faced criticism that Silva was not a “real boxer,” as well as for facing a 47-year old. Thus, Paul went back to the Fury fight one final time, with the bout placed in Saudi Arabia, avoiding the ongoing visa issues for the Fury family for their alleged ties to alleged crime boss Daniel Kinahan.
“I’m so excited for this fight because I can finally silence the critics who have said, ‘Fight a professional boxer, fight someone your age.’ I agree. I haven’t proven that. But this is why this fight is so big,” Paul said. “This is why I’m so excited. This is why I’ve given this guy multiple chances and paid him so much money to finally show up. And it really seemed like the only time he wanted to get into the ring is when I increased the amount of money. So, thankfully he’s here now.”