By: Kirk Jackson
Line them up and he continues to knock them down.
Add another tally to the win column, as Jake “The Problem Child” Paul defeated another Mixed Martial Arts legend this past weekend.
Much to the chagrin of current UFC president Dana White, and numerous MMA fans and Paul detractors around the world, Paul dropped and decisioned former UFC star Anderson “The Spider” Silva to take an eight-round unanimous decision on Saturday, October 29 in a Most Valuable Promotions (MVP) event live on SHOWTIME PPV from Desert Diamond Arena (formerly Gila River) in Glendale, Ariz., just outside of Phoenix.
This cruiserweight bout took place in front of 14,430 fans in the highest-grossing boxing event for ticket revenue in the history of the arena.
Billed as an event that would finally pit the social media sensation against a worthy opponent, Paul showed even though he has a way to go, he is better than what many thought, and at least good enough to clearly defeat someone with legitimate striking ability, if not high-level boxing ability.
Paul boxed effectively for most of the fight, utilizing his left jab early and often, using lateral movement and the entire ring, shooting off and mixing in straight, looping, and overhand right hands.
He observed Silva’s boxing lesson and in turn dished out his own curriculum.
“I worked hard to do a special show for everybody here,” Silva said. “I say thank you for everyone to come. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but I continue training hard because I was born for this.”
Silva, 47, is regarded as one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time and flashed moments of his former glory, showboating early throughout the contest, even dropping into a squat and frog-walking around the ring in the second round.
The Brazilian feinted, changed levels and attempted to execute a menacing offensive assault when they were engaged in close, but it wasn’t enough.
Albeit a spirited effort, Silva displayed signs of slippage, which is quite natural considering his age.
Paul for his part was consistent, stuck to his gameplan, maintained composure and his conditioning looked better compared to previous fights.
“It’s a surreal moment,” said Paul, who improved on his undefeated record to 6-0 with 4 KO’s. “Hard work pays off. First and foremost, I want to say thank you to Anderson.”
“He was my idol growing up. He inspired me to be great. He was the first celebrity I ever met. Without him, we wouldn’t have had a fight this year. He’s a tough mofo. A legend. I have nothing but respect for him. This just goes to show that anyone watching at home, chase your dreams. It’s never too late. I started boxing two-and-a-half years ago as a pro and just beat one of the greatest ever because I’m obsessed with this.”
Paul landed 51 of 121 power punches (44%), while Silva landed 66 of 176 of his power punches (38%).
The major key to victory for Paul was his jab. He threw 215 jabs in total, 140 more than Silva, and landed 32. Paul’s gameplan also consisted of a commitment to the body, with 30 of his 83-power punches directed towards Silva’s midsection.
If the fight was in doubt during the closing moments, Paul effectively secured victory, dropping the legend with a looping overhand right with 2:20 left in the eighth round.
“We were just fighting in the clinch, and he got caught on the way out,” Paul said of the knockdown.
“He took so many hard shots throughout the whole fight. The dude is a real dog. You see what happens to everyone else that gets hit with that. He’s the toughest guy in the world but I just wanted it more. I’m a real dog and I left it all in the ring.”
“The Problem Child” won with scores of 78-73 (Dennis O’Connell), 77-74 (Paul Calderon) and 78-73 (Chris Wilson).
The looming question is, what’s next for Paul?
Names like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Hughie Fury, Hasim Rahman Jr., Conor McGregor have all been discussed at some point. Uriah Hall, featured on the undercard, would like to place his bid in efforts to fight Paul.
But most intriguing, may be one of the spectators in attendance, another MMA legend, Nate Diaz.
“They’re going to find something to say. ‘Fight a real boxer.’ I tried. If I were walking on water, people would say that I can’t swim. There’s always going to be haters. There’s always going to be critics. It’s an everyday part of life if you’re doing something and being successful. I don’t worry about it. This is just the start. I want Nate Diaz. Canelo, you too. You guys said, ‘You can’t beat a striker, you can’t beat a legend like Anderson Silva.’ I just did it. So why can’t I beat Canelo?”
Paul can be defined as a “Serious Circus” and that’s no disrespect intended. A circus, in the aspect of Paul brings entertainment, the viewers are engaged, you may laugh, you may frown, and may go through a series of various emotions.
But Paul is serious when it comes to boxing.
From acquiring and embracing tutelage from top-of-the-line trainers, improving with elite sparring partners and taking the necessary time to dedicate to this sport, that’s something to be commended. It helps having the resources and having that push, but he’s making the best of his opportunities.
And depending on your views as the audience, and the outcome for these events he partakes in moving forward, the admission is worth the price. Stay tuned, because like the traveling circus, Jake Paul will probably be coming to a town near you.