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Whether you like it or not, 2021 was Jake Paul’s year, and he earned it after KO victory over Tyron Woodley

TAMPA, Fla. — Frank Gore first noticed Jake Paul battle in January 2020. It was Paul’s professional boxing debut, a first-round knockout of fellow YouTube star AnEsonGib.

At the time, the longtime NFL star working again thought that he may beat Paul. Gore had been coaching in boxing for greater than a decade to that time. But Gore stored watching. He noticed Paul knock out NBA veteran Nate Robinson in November 2020. And then Paul knocked out MMA champion Ben Askren final April.

Gore watched Paul beat former UFC champion Tyron Woodley again in August through cut up determination. On Saturday, Gore was on the undercard of the Paul vs. Woodley rematch towards NBA All Star Deron Williams — and after his battle, he noticed Paul knock Woodley out chilly within the sixth spherical.

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“Every time he stepped within the ring, bro, he bought higher and higher,” Gore stated earlier this week. “They say YouTuber, to now, the fellows he beat? You’ve bought to take your hat off to this man. I respect what he’s performed.”

This has been a 12 months of silencing naysayers for Paul, who remains to be solely 24 years previous. Many nonetheless exist. And Paul has nonetheless but to battle anybody with actual professional boxing expertise. But Paul’s large proper hand was an exclamation level on a exceptional stretch. Over the previous 12 months, he’s gained thrice with two knockouts, and maybe most significantly, he’s emerged as probably the most bankable pay-per-view stars in fight sports activities.

“Look at what I simply did,” Paul stated after stopping Woodley of their rematch. “Look on the 12 months I simply had. Unprecedented. One of probably the most priceless boxers on this sport. Four fights. Four large pay-per-views in 13 months. I’ve knocked out each single individual that I’ve fought.”

Jake Paul has plenty of causes to have a good time after his knockout victory over Tyron Woodley on Saturday. Chandan Khanna/AFP through Getty Images

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In addition to what he’s performed within the ring, Paul is making a significant imprint outdoors of it. He and adviser Nakisa Bidarian began Most Valuable Promotions, which has promoted each Woodley fights. Like Floyd Mayweather, the most important box-office star in boxing historical past, Paul is selling himself. If you open BoxRec and take a look at Saturday’s card, one of many promoters listed is “Jake Paul.” Imagine studying any of these previous couple of strains one 12 months in the past.

“The notion has modified immensely and rightfully so,” Paul stated this week. “When I got here into this, I had lots to show. People did not perceive me. They did not perceive my motion. They thought I was simply making a mockery of the game. And now individuals actually see what I’m doing. They respect me, they respect my work, they respect the enterprise facet of it.”

The magnitude of what Paul is doing might need been much more obvious within the co-main occasion, the place Amanda Serrano, ESPN’s No. 3 pound-for-pound ladies’s boxer, beat Miriam Gutierrez by unanimous determination. Serrano, the primary fighter aside from Paul on the Most Valuable Promotions roster, has been a wonderful fighter for the higher a part of a decade. But she bought a large ovation Saturday right here at Amalie Arena, her social media following has gone by way of the roof and she’s now gazing maybe the most important battle in ladies’s boxing historical past subsequent 12 months towards Katie Taylor.

Serrano stated within the postfight information convention Saturday that she had been supplied the Taylor battle earlier than, however the expectation is that at this second in time, it could possibly be a seven-figure payday.

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“The value that was supplied [before] was nowhere what we’re getting now,” Serrano stated. “Jake Paul undoubtedly helped that.”

Despite his fights coming towards non-boxers, Jake Paul has tapped right into a pay-per-view market in a manner that is made him one of many high attracts in fight sports activities. His KO of Tyron Woodley will solely assist develop his drawing energy. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Paul has been an advocate for fighter pay and he has turn out to be the driving power of this current pattern of novelty boxing, with athletes from MMA dealing with boxing luminaries, and athletes from different sports activities and celebrities additionally getting in on the act.

“Without fighters, there isn’t any f—ing present,” Woodley stated this week. “I believe perhaps that [started] some completely different thought processes in these guys to acknowledge how priceless we’re. And actually begin to see our price. If that is what it’s doing, then kudos to him.”

Paul’s subsequent transfer is unclear. Maybe it’ll be a matchup with Tommy Fury, who was imagined to battle Paul on Saturday, however was compelled to withdraw two weeks in the past resulting from a damaged rib and chest an infection. Paul additionally known as out UFC stars Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal after beating Woodley on Saturday. He talked about Mayweather, Conor McGregor, Mike Tyson and even the most effective fighter in boxing, Canelo Alvarez, earlier this week.

Boxing traditionalists will nonetheless deal with Paul as a joke. Some of what he does stays juvenile. But it’s arduous to disregard the pay-per-view models offered, the attendance numbers (together with an especially younger demographic on the fights) and, sure, even the knockouts.

“At some level,” Woodley stated, “you’ve bought to begin placing some respect on Jake’s title.”

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