The Showdown: Mike Tyson’s Legacy vs. Jake Paul’s Rise In Boxing

No one could have predicted that Conor McGregor managing to secure the biggest combat sports crossover fight in boxing history would lead to one of the biggest names in the sport, “Iron” Mike Tyson, taking on one of the most prominent faces in the new age of influencer boxing, “The Problem Child” Jake Paul several years later.

Mayweather vs. McGregor was more than just a boxing spectacle. It showed promoters could bring in record numbers regardless of a fight’s legitimacy if enough people were interested in seeing it. No one asked for Jake Paul vs. Mike Tyson; many have heavily criticized the matchup. What is certain is that many boxing fans will tune in to watch the action regardless of any criticisms they have.


Jake Paul vs. Mike Tyson: The Storyline 

Mike Tyson became a professional boxer at 18 after compiling a 48-6 amateur record, with 38 of his victories coming via knockouts. He quickly emerged as one of the biggest names in boxing in the 80s, winning his first 19 professional bouts via knockout, with 12 ending in the first round.

It was a sight to behold as the teenager made easy work out of grown men who had dedicated their lives to boxing. Tyson was the WBC Heavyweight Champion by age 20, with a 28-0 record and only two opponents managing to go the distance with him. Mike dominated for a few more years, snagging every heavyweight title that mattered along the way.

If Tyson’s reign could be summed up with one word, it would be “dominance.” He appeared to be levels above everyone who shared the ring with him in his prime. Tyson suffered his first loss as a professional boxer when he faced Buster Douglas in 1990, getting knocked out in the tenth round. The fight wasn’t without controversy, as Tyson initially protested the outcome but withdrew his complaint a few days later.

Tyson tried to secure an immediate rematch, but Douglas opted to fight Evander Holyfield instead. He lost all the belts he won off Tyson to Holyfield. Tyson was forced to work his way back to a title shot, but he was charged with rape in 1991, derailing those plans.

Tyson spent a few years in prison but stayed in relatively good shape in anticipation of his return to the ring. His first fight back was against Peter McNeeley, and the fight ended up setting new pay-per-view and revenue records. Tyson finished the first four opponents he faced after his release from prison to earn a shot at the reigning champion Evander Holyfield.

Many fans expected another easy win for Tyson, but Holyfield had plans of his own, putting him away during the 11th round of their 1996 showdown. The outcome was shocking to fight fans who believed Holyfield got lucky, so a rematch took place six months later. Unfortunately for Tyson, things didn’t go as he wanted, and he ended up biting Evander Holyfield’s ear out of frustration. It was one of the most significant controversies ever in boxing, leading to Tyson being permanently banned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. That decision prevented Tyson from fighting in the U.S., but the commission restored his license in 1998.

Tyson went on to have several more fights, and he scored his last opportunity to reclaim the heavyweight title against Lennox Lewis. Lewis knocked Tyson in the eighth round, ending the Tyson era.

Tyson hasn’t been as controversial post-retirement, and he’s emerged as one of the most loved sports icons today, primarily because of how the once hot-tempered fighter has evolved into a better and wiser man. His likability has earned him millions of dollars post-retirement, from public speaking gigs to cameo appearances in popular movies like Ip Man 3. At this point in his career, Tyson’s status as one of the most dominant champions ever is well-cemented.


The Problem Child

Jake Paul isn’t exactly the guy anyone expects to become a boxer. The former Disney child actor gained popularity on social media by creating videos targeting teenagers. Jake Paul’s first boxing fight resulted from the success generated by the influencer boxing card that YouTubers KSI (Olajide Olatunji) and Joe Weller headlined.

KSI and Joe Weller opened Pandora’s box of influencer boxing as it showed successful boxing cards could be created with famous figures with large followings regardless of their limited boxing experience.

Jake’s first opponent was an exhibition match against KSI’s younger brother, Deji, and he secured a TKO in the fifth. That win apparently spurred something in him, as he’s dedicated himself to boxing ever since.

Unlike other influencer boxers who have mostly stuck to fighting other influencers, Jake figured out he could generate more notoriety by fighting athletes from non-boxing backgrounds. His first victim was former NBA player Nate Robinson, and he’s gone on to defeat some big-name mixed martial arts fighters like Anderson Silva, Ben Askren, Tyron Woodley, and Nate Diaz.

Jake Paul is no longer just an influencer boxer. The improvements he’s made over the years and the fact he lost via split decision against Tommy Fury, who comes from boxing royalty, shows he’s taking his career as a boxer seriously.


The Showdown

Mike Tyson and Jake Paul are officially set to collide on July 20 and the bout will count on their professional records.

Oddsmakers have Paul as a -360 favorite, which many boxing experts will agree with. Jake Paul is still in his prime and improving with each fight he takes. Tyson is now 57, and while he probably still packs lots of power in his punches, his ability to take punches at his age is highly questionable.

A fighter’s chin is one of the first things to be impacted by age, and the outcome of the fight will likely come down to how well Tyson can take a punch. Paul has proven how hard he hits, with most of his wins coming via knockout, so Tyson might be biting more than he can chew at this point in his life, as many experts have pointed out. Fortunately for him, his legacy will remain intact regardless of the fight’s outcome.


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