It’s a tough thing for a man to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders; when it feels as though every action, every move, every moment could have great and lasting consequences. Sadly, it’s a burden celebrity boxer Jake Paul seems destined to bear, as he marches forward in his pugilistic career.
Most recently, Paul defeated former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in an eight-round professional boxing contest. The bout was a clear and consistent step forward for the former Disney actor and YouTube star, as he made his climb from facing social media personalities and non-combat sports athletes, to wrestling-based MMA fighters, and finally to a notably distinguished striker.
If it seems like that kind of progression would leave Paul all smiles with a sea of doubters firmly in his wake, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Paul recently appeared on the MMA Hour to talk about his latest triumph, and the ways doubts about his abilities still dog him. Most specifically, he had a message for fans who think his victory over Silva may have been a fixed fight, and how the inability to shake that narrative has undercut his faith in humanity.
“I think smart people with intelligence are giving me props and respect,” Paul explained (transcript via MMA Fighting). “Like the WBC President [Mauricio Sulaimán] saying that anyone who says Jake is not a real boxer is just bitter and is a hater. People like Teddy Atlas showing me mad respect, a lot of fighters showing me mad respect, a lot of MMA guys texting me saying, ‘You look really sharp, that was the best you’ve fought,’ Ryan Garcia showing me respect. So the smart people who I care about are showing that love. There are the people who will always be there in my career who are discrediting it. Now, they’re saying it was rigged. It went from, ‘Jake’s going to get knocked out by Anderson,’ to, ‘Oh, that was rigged.’ ...
“I lose faith in my generation and my peers, and us as a society and a world when I see that type of stuff and that type of stupidity. It just sucks. It sucks because I worked so hard for this. I dedicate everything, sacrifice everything, every single day, bust my balls, have a 15-person team working around the clock to help me become the best boxer possible, and when I do something like beating Anderson Silva, they try to take it away from me. But I know deep down, and I guess that’s all that really matters.”
Paul went on to enthuse about how much he feels his skills have improved over the few years that he has been training and living the life of a professional athlete. Although, he also revealed that his brother has urged him to consider retiring from boxing with an unbeaten 6-0 record. For his part, however, it doesn’t sound like Paul has any intention of stepping away.
“I feel like, definitely, [not facing a] professional boxer is the No. 1 criticism.” Paul said of his doubters. “But again, anyone that is smart knows that Anderson Silva is a real professional boxer, and just beat a former world champion. So I don’t know. I haven’t really been on social media, seeing if people are still criticizing because of that—I’ve seen the ‘rigged’ thing—but at this point, I’m just going to do whatever the f-ck I want, and fight whoever is willing and ready to show up.”
No word yet on when Paul might be looking to step back in the ring, for the moment, however, he appears to be targeting a bout with recently released former UFC title challenger Nate Diaz. Diaz and his team were present for Paul’s bout against Silva, and the two camps even got into a back stage scuffle during the event. A fight between them seems like the logical next step for both men’s fighting careers.