By: Sean Crose
First things first – Jake Paul, who, let’s be honest, is a professional fighter operating in the cruiserweight division – is known to be over the top. He started off as a social media star, after all, and is currently one of the top draws in boxing. You don’t get that way in just three fights unless you can draw attention to yourself. With that in mind, Paul indicated on Sunday that his Saturday pay per view fight with former UFC notable Ben Askren brought in – wait for it – well over 1 million buys. This, friends, is a massive number – provided that it’s true.
“1.5 million PPV buys,” he posted in Instagram. “$75 million dollars generated.” This announcement was accompanied by a picture of the man himself sitting before a mansion luxuriating in a pile of cash. No matter what the final numbers are, certain things are becoming obvious. First, this weekend’s event captivated popular culture. A few minutes spent online can let most anyone know that buzz is real – and this card had buzz, as in it dominated a large portion of Twitter conversation throughout Saturday evening into early Sunday morning. It’s also becoming obvious that Paul is a fighter clearly in the mold of Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. In other words, he uses obnoxious behavior to sell himself.
This leads a question, however, of where to place the man as a boxer. Mayweather and McGregor dominated their respective sports. Paul has had less than four fights, yet he might well be on his way to becoming the biggest name in the combat sport business. Some boxing journalists appear to be putting things in the proper perspective – that Paul is a promising up and comer with power and true dedication to the sport. The fact that he’s box office dynamite is, in the purest sense of the term, an afterthought for serious fight fans.
Should Paul’s proclamation of 1.5 million buys prove to be true, it will be interesting to see where the man’s ring career will go. He’s clearly not ready to fight the top cruiserweights in the world, but he’s far more popular than they are simply by fighting athletes from other sports. It’s an interesting situation. Paul, after all, appears to have genuine ring talent – there’s no question he has power – leaving open the question: where to from here? Novelty fights, or professional development? Novelty fights can lead to more money – for the time being. But how long will that sort of thing remain popular? What’s more, Paul seems to take boxing seriously. Suffice to say at least part of him wants to see how much he can grow.
This is a scenario fight fans will surely be keeping an eye on – whether they want to or not.