Jake Paul vs Mike Tyson: The Inevitable Endgame For Boxing's Stupidest Era

Don't act surprised, boxing has been heading towards this fight for a while
10:18, 08 Mar 2024

“You get what you f**king deserve”

So says The Joker, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix in the titular comics-cum-Oscar bait film. This missive, said seconds before he fills Robert De Niro’s talk show host character with hot lead, could easily be applied to Jake Paul’s upcoming circus with Mike Tyson. Depending on Netflix’s current offerings, you might even be able to watch Joker after the fight as a kind of twisted double-feature.

Paul vs Tyson is exactly what you deserve. It is what all the pearl-clutching commenters bemoaning the end of boxing, sport and life as we know it deserve. How did you think this was all going to end? The highway to hell was paved long ago and many of the people now decrying Paul vs Tyson helped lay a brick or two.

Far too many pundits and fans are keen to draw the line here and now. But where was the moralistic outrage when Jake Paul began his professional boxing career not against a fighter but against fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib? How about when he knocked out basketball player Nate Robinson in his second bout? There was the odd dissenting voice but there were far more eyeballs, online cheerleaders and engaged fans watching Paul expand his spurious legacy with wins over retired MMA fighters.

Where was this level of outrage when Jake kicked the door open behind him and, along with KSI, allowed the likes of Walid Sharks, DeenTheGreat, Elle Brooke and Astrid Wett to enter the sport behind him? The Misfits Boxing circus has become an increasingly accepted part of the boxing landscape despite it offering little in the way of skill or credibility to the sport. Jake’s own Most Valuable Promotions, who are handling the Tyson fiasco, promotes unified featherweight champion Amanda Serrano. Where was this idea that Paul had gone too far when he was putting Serrano, one of the greatest fighters on the planet, on his undercards?

Paul has been allowed to get here. ‘The Problem Child’ is just doing what he can get away with. He’s an intelligent man and he is going to squeeze every last drop out of the sport. Nobody told him to stop when he was bouncing ex-NBA stars off the mat like a basketball. Nobody told him to stop when he was huffing and puffing against Tommy Fury. Nobody told him to stop when he was picking over the remnants of yesterday’s journeymen. Why would he stop now with the world’s premiere streaming service offering him wheelbarrows of coin to face boxing’s most famous living fighter?


And what of Mike Tyson? Well you asked for him too. Frequently. Endlessly. Every heavyweight puncher since has been compared to Tyson. Every social media clip of Mike throwing five second bursts of punches to stay in shape is followed with hundreds of comments demanding his return. The ‘Iron’ one has obliged you once, in 2020 when he dusted the gloves off for a rewarding exhibition with Roy Jones Jr. But the clamour has not stopped. Please, Mike. One more time, Mike. 

So here he is, climbing in the ring with the opponent he can make the most money against for the least amount of risk. And boy oh boy, people are not happy about it. So what should Tyson have done to satisfy the fans that won’t shut up about him coming back, despite seeming happy with his lot and his legacy at 57? Would you only be satisfied if he was beasted by an Anthony Joshua or a Tyson Fury? Was he supposed to relive his darkest moments against a similarly-elderly Evander Holyfield or James ‘Buster’ Douglas? You asked for Mike back, so tell me exactly who he was supposed to fight?

I do not sit here defending this as a spectacle or an idea. As an admirer of Tyson the boxer, if not always Tyson the man, this is not how I want to see him go out. For 15 years he had to stew over an embarrassing loss to the unworthy Kevin McBride in his last fight. The Jones Jr affair was restorative. It was a good-natured and friendly event at a time, deep in the COVID-19 pandemic, when the world needed to smile.

But this fight will be anything but. The build-up will be full of needle. You will be sold the old Mike. The ear-biting, ref-throwing reprobate who once said he wanted to eat Lennox Lewis’ children. Paul will revel in that too, so desperate is he to be seen as a boxing bad boy rather than a silver-spoon YouTuber. If Tyson vs Jones Jr was a dignified occasion that shed some much-needed positive light on boxing, Paul vs Tyson will be the polar opposite.

But this is what you asked for. Every time you justified Jake’s involvement. Every time you fancifully wondered what would happen if ‘Iron’ Mike came back and showed these modern heavyweights how it was done. Every time you half-joked that influencer boxing is more interesting than the proper stuff these days. This fight is the inevitable endgame for the landscape boxing has cultivated over the past few years. Enjoy it, complain about it, it’s too late to stop it. You get what you f**king deserve.

Joshua vs Ngannou odds via betfred*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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