It’s a travesty. Makes a mockery of boxing. Whether Conor McGregor v Floyd Mayweather, Thor v Eddie Hall or Jake Paul v Tryon Woodley, it denigrates boxing.
Boxers learn their task for years before they get into the ring. They dedicate their lives to it. For celebs to train for a bit and then fight in high profile matches is a slap – not a punch – in the face to ‘real’ boxers.
But is it? All depends which boxing your talking about.
The Fistic Arts
The art of boxing, the movement, the stamina, the composure, defence, reading the opponent and so much more, all these things and more are wonderful to watch and so difficult to attain.
A boxer never stops learning and it can be a life’s work.
These celebs? They might have one match and leave it. But they may continue with a sport they love. Woodley has not abandoned boxing after one match. Paul seems all in.
They are learning and actually it seems they’re developing.
The Business Of Boxing
Totally different story. Celebs sell tickets and their appeal cannot be overstated, either in sales or visibility.
The undercards are usually full of time-served boxers and certainly Jake Paul plays the game.
So the social media pre fight chat is usually well done, stirring up comment and the press conferences are often incendiary too.
In the ring, certainly for Paul, things are developing, he seemed like a student of the game and is keen to know more.
Did You Say It Was Paul v Woodley II?
I didn’t, but it was. Paul won the first fight, rather contenciously I thought, on points. In that fight, Woodley seemed composed in the pocket, seemed able to pick his punches and land.
Paul, by comparison, seemed all arms and legs. He had an energy he couldn’t tame. He looked worried that Woodley was so assured and was even wobbled at one point.
Woodley looked like the one who would develop into a boxer, not keen student Paul.
That was only 4 months ago and Paul should have Neen meeting Tommy Fury, who had to retire through injury. That might have been a totally different fight.
How Was The 2nd Meeting?
Well, you’ll probably have seen the headline. Paul knocked out Woodley in the 6th round.
It was a rather brutal knockout, Woodley landing face down and clearly sparked out. Surely he won’t have felt a punch like that before. It was an exclamation point. A finisher. A highlight moment.
Good job, because what went before it wasn’t good at all.
Yep. There just wasn’t much clearly defined action. Why was that, I hear you ask?
Well, mainly because Paul came with a gameplan.
Don’t. Let. Woodley. Work.
Tyrone Woodley showed some good shots in the first fight. He put them together well too. He would only have improved by the second meeting.
So Paul took steps to spoil that. Steps towards him. To crowd him. Using his long levers to confuse.
He also used them to clinch. It’s an artform and here it cut off Woodley’s groove, disrupted him.
He struggled to find that composure.
So little happened in 5 of the 6 rounds that the commentary team were making a lot of a cut on Paul’s forehead which was apparently caused by an elbow the ref said but was more surely more likely a clash of heads.
They went on and on about it, in lieu of anything else to say; the blood wasn’t in his eyes or opening up too much. But when you got to find something to talk about…
By round 5 it was accepted on commentary that the crowd werd booing and with good reason. There was virtually nothing being thrown.
As The Independent said; ‘Indeed, there was less and less boxing and increasingly more grappling on display as the fight passed its halfway mark, with those in attendance audibly growing frustrated by the lack of action.’
That was, it seems, the Paul game plan; make it hard for Woodley to work, because if he does he has skill.
It’s good for the Boxing Art if you then take advantage, Paul didn’t. It’s really bad for the Boxing Business.
Go On Then, Tell Us About This Knockdown
Woodley took his eye off the ball. That happened recently to Michel Saro when he fought Israel Madrimov, he lost focus for a split second and shipped a devastating punch.
Not saying that the Jake Paul punch was devastating. It wasn’t a peach of a shot. It was just that Woodley presented his chin to Paul and Paul had the wherewithal to hit it.
You never know if you can take a punch until you take one. Even sparring. There is no way to simulate a punch in the heat of competition. Perhaps Woodley found he couldn’t take a punch on the button.
Either way it was a horrible knockout and one that people will surely want to see over and over again.
So Is The Fight It Worth Watching?
As a spectacle, yes. As a KO, sadly yes. As a boxing match, never in a 100 years. If you frustrate your opponent’s work, it’s only effective if you do something to gain the upper hand.
Jake Paul didn’t do that until the, not lucky, but fortuitous punch, in the 6th.
Will it burnish Paul’s rep? He’s got something to really push now. He’s a KO artist, as he said, reported in The Mirror; ‘This is as real as it f***ing gets, just like my right hand,” said Paul. “I told you I was going to f*** him up and I f**ed him up.’
And he says he’ll fight ‘whoever’. Be prepared for a lot more arguments