Matchroom Sports Chairman Eddie Hearn once stood next to Jake Paul and told the YouTuber turned boxer, in so many words, that he wasn’t that good.
That was four months ago when Paul was Hearn’s short promoting partner for a lightweight title bout between Katie Taylor (multi-division champion) and Paul’s Amanda Serrano. Hearn said to Paul that he wouldn’t be a champion world boxer.
When it comes to Paul’s chances against Anderson Silva’s, Hearn uses a different scale.
“I don’t know enough about Anderson Silva – Anderson is , but he can box a bit by the sound of things,” Hearn said of the Oct. 29 boxing match on The MMA Hour. I think Jake has been unlucky because he tried to fight Tommy Fury. He was also trying to beat Hasim Rahman Jr. and that would have given him the opportunity to actually say: ‘Actually you must respect me now as boxer.
“To defeat Anderson Silva, while boxing is still a very impressive part of his repertoire, he’s still not a boxer, and he’s 47 years of age. But he’s a tough guy, he has a huge profile, he can box, and I think he’ll be competitive. I don’t think he beats Jake, because I think Jake is young, and I think he can punch a bit, and I’m intrigued to watch, and I like what Jake’s doing. He’s a bit of a hero against the rest .”
Paul has struggled to gain respect since the beginning of his boxing career. A series of fights against influencers and former MMA champs did a lot to raise his profile, but victories over the likes of Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley brought far more respect from the MMA world than that of boxing. Paul’s opposition against older fighters was criticized in the MMA community.
Silva, as it turns out, was one of the fights most in the MMA world believed would elevate Paul’s esteem in the boxing world. None other than UFC President Dana White dismissed the influencer’s opposition and pointed to Silva as a true test for the young upstart. Chael Sonnen, a three-time UFC champion and host of the press conference for Paul vs. Silva, credited White with being part of what made the matchup possible. Paul was so eager to prove UFC boss wrong that he agreed to fight in his most difficult fight.
In the boxing world, the bar is a little higher, and the obstacles more significant.
“Nobody’s trying do him any favors boxing,” Hearn stated. “It’s not ‘YouTube boxing’ any more, as far as I’m concerned. … Good luck to Jake. He should be able to fight boxers after this bout. I believe he is capable of beating boxers and would certainly increase his reputation in the sport .”
Some, however, is the key word. Hearn doesn’t think Paul’s squared circle ceiling has changed.