YouTuber Jake Paul has exactly one professional boxing match to his name. That will still make him the experienced veteran when he steps into the ring to fight former NBA player Nate Robinson on the undercard of the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. exhibition on Saturday night.
Paul holds a professional record of 1-0 after stopping fellow internet personality Ali Al Fakri – better known as AnEsonGib – in the first round of their Jan. 30 fight earlier this year.
Paul Finds Second Celebrity Opponent in Robinson
It was hard not to see that fight as anything but a gimmick that put together two popular social media stars in an effort to draw eyeballs to a boxing card. But it still counted as a real, professional fight. Paul now has a BoxRec page that displays his undefeated record and rates him as the 780th-best cruiserweight boxer in the world. That’s a long way from catching top-rated Mairis Briedis or capturing a title belt, but it’s something.
For his second fight, Paul will once again take on a celebrity opponent. But this time, he’s taking on a professional athlete in Robinson, a three-tie NBA Slam Dunk Competition winner who was known for his intensity on the court.
|Jake Paul vs. Nate Robinson Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|Jake Paul: -245||Nate Robinson: +175|
That alone might make Robinson a bit more of a legitimate opponent for Paul than a random YouTuber. But Robinson says he’s been working on his fighting skills since his childhood.
“It just brings back so many memories,” Robinson told BoxingScene.com. “When I was young, my brother and I, we used to hit the bag all the time. Hit the bag, get the globes, get after each other so we could prepare each other for situations if we were ever in a fight we know what it feels like. Just to be able to protect ourselves, to know the fundamentals.”
Oddsmakers Favor Experience Over Athleticism
Robinson sounds like he’s taking the fight seriously, but it’s harder to parse Paul’s motivations for the bout. Paul holds a stake in Triller, the social media platform that is sponsoring the card. Still, the 23-year-old says he’s out to prove a point in his second professional fight.
“For me, it’s a perfect fight because everyone thinks I’m just this YouTube pretty kid. And everyone things that he’s this buff NBA athlete,” Paul told The Verge. “But on Saturday, people are gonna see how serious I’m taking the sport and how good I am at the sport. And I plan on knocking him out in the first round.”
While Robinson seemingly holds a clear edge in athleticism, Paul enjoys several other advantages. He’s 13 years younger, has been working with a team of professional boxing trainers, and does have that one prior fight, which at least shows he knows what he’s getting into.
Those factors likely helped push sportsbooks into making Paul the favorite. DraftKings Sportsbook has made Paul a -245 pick over Robinson (+175) in the six-round affair.
Even if he wins, Paul has a long way to go before anyone takes him seriously as a boxing prospect. But he says that he has high ambitions when it comes to future opponents.
“McGregor has that same pay-per-view draw, I have that same pay-per-view draw,” Paul told CBS Sports. “I think after I take down a couple more opponents, Jake Paul vs. Conor McGregor is gonna be undeniable.”