Sunday, February 26th, Saudi Arabia hosted one of the most anticipated boxing match-ups in recent years. Jake ‘The Problem Child’ Paul vs Tommy ‘TNT’ Fury.
The pair both put their undefeated records on the line, to determine which one of the two would really prove to be the actual professional boxer. With Tommy having a poor record and Jake not having fought a legitimate pro, the question needed answering as to which one really was the true fighter.
Prior expectations were flipped come fight night. Many said that the pressure would get to Fury, however he was able to overcome it much better than Paul, who looked visibly nervous and scared as he prepared to make his walk to the ring.
The pair both promised to knock each other out within four rounds, but despite this ultimately not happening, it took only twenty seconds of the fight to realise that Fury was by far the superior technician, with excellent foot placement and movement. The Problem Child was much heavier handed, but a lack of speed and total inability to figure out Fury’s movements hindered Paul from landing many notable shots.
Despite the commentator’s best efforts to big-up Paul, ‘dangerous’ was definitely not the word to describe him in the fight. The front-row spectators were more at risk than Tommy from Paul’s much-vaunted overhand right, which he was unable to land flush. Tommy emulated his brother Tyson’s tactics against Deontay Wilder, and nullified Paul’s biggest threat and cruised to a comfortable win.
His limited experience against an opponent who knew how to move showed heavily during the fight. Fury schooled him with footwork, feints and hand speed, something which Paul was yet to encounter in his professional career. Paul was able to land a few heavy jabs and left hooks to Fury’s head, but a misplaced front foot ultimately was the reason Fury went down at the start of the last round.
Despite what you think about Paul, one thing has to be respected, in that he went a full eight rounds against a guy who's been fighting his whole life. Even though Tommy lacks the power, the fact he is the professional in this matchup made everyone assume that he’d overpower Paul and flatten him. This is particularly as he’d insisted before the fight that if Jake was to step in with a real pro, he’d laid out in thirty seconds.
The fight still had many unanswered questions. Did we really see the best of them? Had the pressure gotten to them both that bad? Would we have seen a different outcome if Fury had the power or if Paul was able to land flush with his most valuable weapon? The main question on everyone’s lips right now is can Jake Paul now be described as a true professional? The Fury clan were all in agreement afterwards in interviews that people can definitely call Paul a legitimate professional boxer. All of them were in agreement that The Problem Child was a much tougher opponent than they’d originally thought.
Talks of a rematch taking place were already being mentioned in the immediate aftermath of the fight, so hopefully things can be properly settled if a rematch happens. But before they even think of a rematch, the pair need to go home and regroup. For Tommy, it’s seeing his partner Molly and newborn baby Bambi, whom he hasn’t spent any time with due to preparations for this fight. For Jake, it’s calming down after an intense couple months of training, rethinking and reviewing the fight and taking the necessary adjustments to the gym with him after everything’s settled down after this wild ride in the Middle East.
This is only assuming that Jake even wants to step in the squared circle again. Paul has already signalled his intention to return to the ring, but hopefully he’ll realise that to progress, he needs to fight boxers with similar experience levels to himself, and also realise that challenging the likes of Canelo Alvarez is certainly going to see him taken out on a stretcher. However he appeared adamant that this wasn’t the last we’d see of him in boxing, stating clearly in his post fight press conference “don’t judge me by my wins, judge me by my losses, I’ll be back”.