Jake Paul doesn’t mind if people still criticize him.
On Saturday, Paul scored the biggest win of his boxing career, claiming a unanimous decision victory over former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in one of the most anticipated fights of the year.
A few days after his signature win, Paul is still taking it all in.
“For me it’s still pretty crazy to beat one of the greatest fight forwards of all time,” Paul continued to Ariel Helwani The MMA lesson. “I’m just proud of myself. I’m proud that I was able to implement everything we worked on in the gym. This is the first fight where everything was slowed down for me and I was able to handle the moment really well and execute the game plan perfectly. I felt very comfortable there and here we are. It’s incredible, it’s surreal. I can’t believe I actually made it, but I’m very proud of myself.”
In addition to beating Silva over eight rounds, Paul even put his stamp on his win by knocking Silva down with a short right hand in the last round of the fight. But while the knockdown removed any doubt as to who won the fight the most, it also brought with it claims from conspiracy theorists that the fight had been “fixed.”
These kinds of claims aren’t new to Paul, who faced similar backlash in his fight with Tyron Woodley. “The Problem Child” said it’s something that will always plague his career because people just can’t take to see him win.
“I think smart people with intelligence give me props and respect,” Paul said. “Like the WBC President [Mauricio Sulaimán] saying that anyone who says Jake isn’t a real boxer is just bitter and a hater. People like Teddy Atlas show me insane respect, a lot of fighters show me insane respect, a lot of MMA guys text me and say, “You look really hot, that was the best thing you fought”, Ryan Garcia shows me respect . So the smart people I care about show that love. There are the people who will always be there in my career who discredit them. Now they say it has been tampered with. It went from “Jake gets knocked out by Anderson” to “Oh that was rigged”. …
“I lose faith in my generation and my peers and in us as a society and the world when I see this type of stuff and this type of stupidity. It just sucks. It sucks because I worked so hard for it. I dedicate everything, sacrifice everything every day, bust my balls, have a 15 person team that works 24/7 to help me become the best possible boxer and when I do something like Anderson Silva to hit, they try to take it away from me. But I know deep down, and I think that’s all that really matters.”
While Paul no doubt still has some doubters, defeating Silva was a huge step up in the competition. It proved that the YouTube influencer works hard and improves as a boxer. Paul admitted the outcome would have been very different if the fight had taken place a year ago.
“Even the Jake that fought Tyron Woodley in Tampa wouldn’t have beaten that version of Anderson Silva,” Paul said. “I’ve gotten so much better this year, so much sharper. Kudos to my team, but I’ve also only been doing this for about three years as a pro, so this year was the third year that the gym has really nailed it. And just deal with the moment and the pressure. I think even with those fights in Cleveland and Tampa I was still learning how to work with the crowd, still learning how to feel good under the lights and holding onto the anticipation of the big moment. That’s art and now I’m really good at it. I wasn’t nervous at all going into this fight, it was like I should have been there.”
The win took Paul 6-0 professionally and kept a number of high-profile matchups in play for the YouTube star, including fights against Nate Diaz, Tommy Fury or even Floyd Mayweather. And while Paul doesn’t know exactly what’s next, it doesn’t really matter because after beating Anderson Silva, everything else is just an extra.
“I feel like the pro boxer is definitely the #1 criticism, but again, anyone who is smart knows that Anderson Silva is a real pro boxer and just punched a former world champion,” Paul said. “Well I don’t know. I haven’t really been on social media to see if people are still criticizing about it – I’ve seen the “rigged” thing – but at this point I’ll just do whatever I want and fight anyone who does willing and ready to show up. …
“Everything else that’s happening now is just icing on the cake,” Paul continued. “My brother says I should retire and leave the world and just leave people with their jaws dropped. “This kid just won 6-0, beat some of the best in MMA and then just doesn’t do it anymore.” I won’t do that, but I exceeded my own expectations. But I think that’s just the beginning. I’m really starting to get good and there are a lot of people I want to beat. I want to be world champion. Originally I thought I’d go 10-0 and then retire. But now I’m 6-0 up and it feels like I’m just warming up. So who knows what will happen in the end.”
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