Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury is the biggest boxing match of the year so far. It is a bizarre place to be for the sport, particularly given some of the high-quality outings we have already seen in 2023. But what Paul and Fury lack in world class credentials they more than make up for with their zeitgeist-capturing histrionics.
A feud between a YouTuber and a reality TV star has played out like something ripped straight from either format. There has been announcements and cancellations, personal barbs and the involvement of two very famous families. Every chapter has been the sort of fare that makes boxing analysts squirm but would go down a storm on the Gogglebox sofa.
But eventually the two combatants will have to can the trash talk and have an actual boxing match. So how will they match up? On the surface, it’s hard to glean much from their records. Paul has never fought a proper professional boxer, instead feasting on a diet mainly comprised of ageing MMA fighters. Fury is the genuine article in as much as his opponents have had a combined 203 fights between them. The fact they’ve lost 176 of those does erode his record slightly.
Enough about what the two principles don’t offer, though. What do they bring to the table? Here’s a look at some Fight Factors ahead of this curious cruiserweight collision.
In terms of sharpness, this might be the one area where Jake has a clear advantage. ‘The Problem Child’ last fought in October, when he outpointed UFC icon Anderson Silva. Meanwhile, Tommy has been out of the ring for ten months. His last bout came in April 2022, when he decisioned Poland’s Daniel Bocianski.
Paul also sandwiched another fight in between the Silva victory and Fury’s second-to-last outing, beating Tyron Woodley in a rematch. Fury’s last bout before Bocianski was a win over Anthony Taylor on the card of the first Woodley match. In terms of being in ring shape, Paul seems to have the edge.
Neither man is noted for concussive power, with eight knockouts across 14 cumulative fights. That’s four each but with Paul’s coming in six fights to Fury’s eight. It should be noted here that while Fury managed his stoppages against professional fighters, Paul’s victims are a more eclectic mix.
He has finished YouTuber AnEsonGib, basketball star Nate Robinson and UFC veterans Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley. All but Woodley were making their debut boxing appearances. Meanwhile Fury has stopped some durable fighters, including journeyman Callum Ide who has only been stopped four times across 37 bouts. Neither are going to be mistaken for Mike Tyson, but both men are capable of knocking an opponent out.
In most categories, Fury is a runaway winner due to his professional boxing background. But size wise, it’s a fairly even contest. There is just a one inch difference in height, with Paul standing six-foot-one and Fury an even six. The Englishman has the reach edge, with an extra four inches on his wingspan compared to the American. That will come in handy if Fury is looking to land the jab that went viral on social media in the build-up.
It is interesting to note that the weight may suit Paul better than Fury. While ‘TNT’ has spent much of his career at light heavyweight, Paul has boxed exclusively as a cruiser. Will Jake’s comfort with the extra poundage play a role in the outcome?
Jake Paul to win by any method: 4/5*
This is perhaps the most one-sided category. Nobody is going to mistake Tommy for his brother, but his grasp of the fundamentals is clear. His use of distance and his shot-picking is superior to the more erratic approach of Paul. Jake’s style has worked for him because he overwhelms opponents who aren’t used to pacing themselves for a professional boxing match.
Conversely, Paul isn’t really used to pacing himself for one either. If Fury stands off, lets ‘The Problem Child’ punch himself out and goes in for the kill he should leave Saudi Arabia without any brushes. Paul’s best bet is to draw his opponent into a tear-up.
But what if the fight does end up in trenches? What if a tear-up is exactly what we do get? Who does that favour? Fury should want it more. Boxing was his livelihood before his Casa Amor antics endeared him to the nation. With WBC boss Tyson as a brother and former title challenger Hughie Fury as cousin, there is a certain duty to honour the blood in his veins.
But Jake knows this fight means big things for him. A world ranking would rubber stamp a boxing career that the purists have refused to acknowledge. Whether his critics like it or not, he’d be somebody. When the fists start flying, with both men having it all to lose, this one could go either way.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change