Jake Paul's Going to Save Combat Sports? Bank On It
Jake Paul's Going to Save Combat Sports? Bank On It
By Eugene S. Robinson
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because everyone's got a plan...until they get punched in the face.
By Eugene S. Robinson
It’s hard not to gas face references to “influencers” or “social media sensations”, but this is what most of us — ok, just me — did when 24-year-old Jake Paul started doing stuff that some 24-year-olds do: pranking people and making a name for himself doing so. But then he started boxing and combat sports fans paid attention. When he started knocking fools out? Even more so. But when he starting riding the UFC’s Dana White for underpaying athletes? We were in love. So we’re glad to welcome him to this episode of The Carlos Watson Show. You can find excerpts below or listen to the full interview on the show’s podcast feed.
An Overnight Sensation…Years in the Making
Carlos Watson: Were you always an athlete? I first started paying attention when you knocked my man Nate Robinson cold, which was cold. But that was the first time I really tuned in.
Jake Paul: Yeah, I grew up playing sports. I’m from a small town in Ohio. And really, all there was to do there was play football or wrestle. And so, I grew up playing football, wrestling, and was super, super into it. Wanted to go to the NFL, was training all the time, had a gym in my dad’s basement, like a little makeshift gym where we’d be bench pressing and doing pull-ups.
That’s really all we had, was athletics. And so, I dedicated my whole youth to that. And the wrestling component, it’s a one-on-one combat sport. So, when I transitioned in to boxing, when I was around 20 years old, it was an easy transition because it’s sort of the same angle, same mindset, and the training is just as hard.
Watson: Did you go into the fight with Nate thinking you were going to win? Or you were like, “I’m not sure, I’m still new to this.”
Paul: I knew I was going to win for sure. I predicted that I would knock him out in the first round as well. A lot of people think they can fight because they got into a high school brawl in the locker room, or in the hallway. And boxing is completely different. It’s not something that you can learn to do in six months, which is the amount of time that Nate Robinson had. Whereas I had been doing it for like two and a half years at that point.
My coach has always told me, “Man, you have some natural ability. You are really good at this sport for how long you’ve been doing it.”
Watson: What is your edge, Jake? Is it the power in your punch? Is it your hand speed? Do you move well? Do you duck and bob and weave well? What do you think gives… because Nate Robinson was not a trained boxer, but he was a former professional NBA player. He played college football. His dad was a college football star, and I think played in the pros a little bit. So, he was, on the surface, a serious athlete, but you laid him out like he was a regular guy.
Paul: Yeah. I think it comes in my preparation. I think I prepare better than anyone else out there. And hard work and dedication. There’s a saying from the Art of War, the book, it says, “Every battle is won before it’s fought.” It’s so true. And so, in the lead up to the fight, in my training camp, the dedication I have is unparalleled. I think that’s really my special advantage.
I’m a lot bigger. I have that Ohio strength. We grew up bailing hay and chasing cows around and riding four wheelers and digging holes into the ground. So, I had this natural strength as a kid. Combine that with working hard, and a great team, I have some of the best coaches who have been in boxing their whole entire lives. So, I’m able to learn a lot from them, and I give a lot of credit to my coach, BJ Flores.
So yeah, I think I just want it more than everyone else. Because when I’m going into that ring, everyone wants to see Jake Paul get knocked out, and I’m not going to let that happen.
Jake the Younger
Watson: And what was the little Jake like? Like if you and I had been buddies at eight, 10 years old, were you a loud kid, real quiet kid, would we have been talking about comic books?
Paul: Yeah. So, my nickname is The Problem Child. And so, that’s sort of where it comes from: I was always just having fun, playing sports, getting into a little bit too much trouble. I liked video games a lot. I was amazing at Call of Duty. Me and my friends would seriously spend hours every single day.
There was a point where every single match we played, we would be getting nukes. And man, we were really good at that. Football, wrestling, and just hanging out. I’m a bro’s bro at the end of the day, drinking beers, causing some ruckus.
Watson: Right. Now, in your mind, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? What’s the craziest, most inappropriate thing Jake Paul’s ever done?
Paul: Man, I don’t know. That’s a tough question. I mean, I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff for my YouTube videos when I was a vlogger, and I vlogged every single day because I had this audience of 10 to 15 million people watching my videos every single day. And so, I had to be entertaining otherwise they would stop watching.
And so, the ideas and pranks and things that we would come up with are nuts. One that comes to mind is I took my friend’s car, lowered it into a pool with an excavator, told him about it. He comes outside, freaking out, and then I bought him a new car. So, just things like that happening almost every single day for two years straight, while I was a YouTuber.
Watson: And when did you take off Jake? When was the first time somebody walked up to you who you didn’t know and were like, “Hey, are you Jake Paul?”
Paul: Yeah, I think the first time was when I was about 15 years old, and I was walking through the mall with my friends and someone recognized me from my Vine videos. It was this crazy, crazy thing. They asked me to take a picture, and I was just sort of blown away. I was like, “Okay, sure.” But yeah, I think that was the first time I’ve ever got recognized in public.
Watson: And when was the first time you put real money in your pocket because of all this, Jake? Because you know, lots of people do it, but few people really put real money away. When did you really start to see real money in your bank account or in your pocket?
Paul: I used to landscape, and would help my dad out. And so, I would make $10 an hour…So, I’ll make like $10 an hour, $15 an hour doing different jobs. I remember I was 15 or 16 years old when I did my first Vine brand deal, and they paid me $500 to promote their app.
To me, that was the craziest thing in the world. From there, it just kept on growing and growing and growing, and $500 turned into a thousand, and then a thousand turned into 5,000, and it was sort of this snowball effect now for the past eight years. But it’s been, honestly, a crazy journey. And I always tell people, I’m like, “If I can do it, someone else should be able to figure out how to do it, because I’m just a kid from Ohio. Right?”
I work really hard, and I dedicate my life to this. But I think that’s sort of the message I want to spread is like, “Look, pick something you love, dedicate your life to it, and don’t take no for an answer and you could probably become successful.”
Brothers + Brothers From Other Mothers
Watson: What would happen if you and Logan strapped up? Who would win?
Paul: Honestly, I think I would win. He’s in the other room. I mean, look, I’m undefeated and I’ve had more fights. But I think it’d be a great fight. And who knows? It might actually happen one day. I think so many people want that to happen and it’ll be interesting. I don’t know. I don’t think there’s ever been a group of, or two brothers who are boxers that actually fought each other. So, we’re all about being different and doing things different. So, it could happen.
Watson: Now, what do you think happens to your brother when he tries to fight, arguably, the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of the last 50 years, Floyd Mayweather? Who, granted, is older and effectively in retirement, but what’s the possibility that he gets his spine broken or something?
Paul: That definitely won’t happen. I think he has a good shot at winning this thing. And if anybody could do it, it’s going to be Logan. Floyd is retired…
Watson: Wait…Jake, you’re a smart guy. I know you love your brother. But all right, let’s speak the truth between us. If this was all your money. So, I was betting all your money and all your crypto money. So, all of it, all of it, all of it. If I was betting all your money, who would you bet on?
Paul: I bet on Logan Paul. Take my money. The odds are in Floyd’s favor, so when Logan wins, I’m going to make so much money. I’ve never betted on the fights. Okay? So, anything can happen in a fight. I don’t even think… I’m staying away from that. But this is what I was trying to explain: the reason why I believe in my brother. Floyd’s older, he’s coming out of retirement, and he’s a lot smaller. I think the size advantage is something that people aren’t talking about. I’m seeing Logan spar these shorter guys in practice, and these guys are really good, and they can’t even reach him with their arms because he’s literally towering over him.
Watson: How tall is Logan?
Paul: He’s about 6’2″.
Watson: And how tall is Floyd?
Paul: I think he’s 5’7″, 5’8″. The other massive thing that people aren’t talking about here is that it’s a six round fight. So, all of Floyd’s fights are 12 rounds. Right? And you see what happens with Conor McGregor, where Conor comes out, starts really fast against Floyd, he’s winning those early rounds, and then eventually falls behind because he gets tired. And so, Logan’s not going to have the chance to get tired here in a six round fight. And I think that’s why he can pull off the decisive victory.
Watson: Jake, who do you learn from?
Paul: I think Mike Tyson has given me a lot of great advice, and he’s such a smart guy and has so much wisdom. And I’ve had amazing conversations with him when the cameras are off, and he’s really sort of taken me under his wing a bit, and really believed in me, even before the Nate Robinson fight, which is why he gave me the opportunity to be a part of that card. And so, I really look up to the guy, and he’s a legend, and he’s been through so much, and I have the utmost respect for him.
Watson: Give me an example of something that you’ve learned from him.
Paul: He was talking to me a lot about how, when you start to gain all the success, all these riches, you’re one of the biggest prize fighters, all these girls, all these business people, all these managers, agents, they’re going to start coming out of the wood works and they’re going to want to have their hands in your pockets. There’s a lot of sharks out there. And he’s like, “Man, just keep your circle small and trust a very few amount of people, and keep your eyes on the prize.”
Watson: You recently got into it with Floyd. You snatched his hat. Was that preplanned? Were you like trying to get his goat? What happened?
Paul: No, it actually wasn’t planned. He was talking to me at the press conference and I didn’t have a microphone, so I wasn’t able to defend myself. So I was like, “You know what? I’m going to take this guy’s hat.” And man, let me tell you, I have never seen a grown man that mad for somebody taking their hat.
But I didn’t expect that reaction. I just knew that that moment would just be iconic. And look, at the end of the day, it’s show business. So, I’m in the business of marketing myself and marketing fights, and while it was crazy, a lot of things that I do are very calculated and thought out. At least for a couple of seconds.
And look, at the end of the day, I turned that moment into merchandising and I started selling, Got Your Hat merchandise, t-shirts, we’re even going to be doing temporary tattoos of Got Your Hat to match the tattoo that I got. So, it’s all just a troll at the end of the day.