Jake Paul Goes Back To Basics Against Nate Diaz, But Does Anyone Care?

'The Problem Child' will never be world champion, so what's the point?
07:00, 03 Aug 2023

Jake Paul faces the biggest test of his career this Saturday. The nature of his opponent, UFC veteran Nate Diaz, is no greater than the seven men he has already fought. Diaz is a capable fighter who lacks any sort of pro boxing acumen, much like the majority of Paul’s opponents. No, the real test is one that could have ramifications for the whole Jake Paul boxing experiment as a concept.

As ‘The Problem Child’ raced to 6-0, the talk around him started to get a bit silly. Despite that six-fight record featuring exactly zero wins over professional boxers, some observers were getting carried away. The same could be said of the sanctioning bodies, with both the WBC and WBA broaching the idea of giving Paul a world ranking at some point.


This fanciful talk ended the way more measured voices always predicted it would, with Paul fighting and losing to a genuine boxer. Tommy Fury himself is unlikely to be troubling the world top 20 any time soon, but his eight fights of genuine pro experience were too much for Jake. ‘TNT’ Tommy won a split decision over Paul in Saudi Arabia in February. 

This result upset what had clearly been a very carefully planned path for Jake. Fury was better known for his Love Island stardom and the fact his brother is WBC heavyweight king Tyson Fury than his own ring exploits. A relative novice, he was seen as a soft landing for Paul. People were sick of the influencer fighting non-boxers, so Jake wisely targeted one with name value but whose skills were thought to be at best on-par with his own. ‘The Problem Child’s problem was the fact Fury’s rudimentary understanding of the sport still far outstripped his own.

The misplaced excitement about Paul’s boxing career was built on the fact he might actually, against-all-odds, be quite good at this. At least that’s what his fans, star-hungry promoters and the media wanted to believe. Like it or not, being able to book Paul in a world title fight would have been a huge ticket seller despite being unconscionable from a purist’s perspective.


But, as it turned out, Paul actually isn’t that good at boxing. He’s fine beating up compliant influencers, basketball players and retired MMA fighters looking for a payday. Less so when met with even the least bit of resistance from a pro boxer. Hence Paul finds himself back in his comfort zone.

Diaz, like Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley before him, is an ex-UFC star more renowned for the non-striking facets of MMA. Askren and Woodley were both wrestlers while Diaz is a jiu-jitsu expert. Given the fact he won’t be able to take Paul down to the mat and submit him with an armbar, this expertise will help very little in this fight.

Therefore the real test here won’t come in the squared circle itself. Paul will likely win this fight and do so with relative ease. Diaz may be a little less likely to settle down and pick up a paycheck than Askren and Woodley, but considering Jake outweighs him and is likely a better boxer, he probably won’t win. No, the genuine issue Paul faces this Saturday is whether anyone still cares about his boxing adventure.

The novelty of a YouTuber becoming a professional athlete and going undefeated has now evaporated. What incentive do people have to go on this journey with Jake when we know it won’t end with him coming anywhere near genuine success? What is the hook to bring people back? Paul was beaten fair and square by the first boxer he faced and has retreated to beat up more UFC retirees. The social media personality’s boxing career was always more of a story than it was a serious athletic pursuit. But how long will people engage with a story in which every chapter is identical?

We’re about to find out. If people flock to watch Paul rebuild after his first defeat, perhaps this becomes a redemption story. But if fans stay away, it will be an indication that Paul was never what they thought he was. Did Jake trick us all into thinking he was a boxer? Perhaps. Or maybe an entire industry, from the governing bodies down to the pay-per-view buying public, tricked themselves. Either way, the jig is up. Jake Paul will never be a world champion. We’re about to find out what he intends to be instead.

paul vs diaz fight odds*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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