Jake Paul’s brutal knockout of Nate Robinson still doesn’t sit well with Kendall Gill.
That’s among the reasons that the retired NBA guard wants to fight Paul when the popular YouTuber partakes in his third professional boxing match April 17. Paul has announced the date for his next pay-per-view bout, but not an opponent.
Gill is 52, more than twice Paul’s age. Their age divide aside, Gill trains daily at a boxing gym in Chicago, remains in tremendous condition and went 4-0 as a pro boxer, three times as a cruiserweight in 2005 and once as a heavyweight in 2010.
The 15-year NBA veteran hasn’t boxed in an official fight in nearly 11 years, yet Gill is certain he can teach the trash-talking, 24-year-old Paul a lesson.
“I want the fight,” Gill told BoxingScene.com. “One, yeah, because Nate Robinson got in there and things didn’t work out for Nate. That was because he was inexperienced. And, you know, me having four pro fights under my belt, I feel like I’m the man that should’ve represented the NBA if there was gonna be a guy to fight Jake Paul from the NBA. I’d love to have a chance to showcase my skills on that stage. It’s a challenge both for him and for me. But let’s see you come fight someone your size.”
At 6-feet-5, Gill has four inches on Paul, close to the same height advantage Paul had over Robinson in their cruiserweight bout November 28 bout at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Robinson, who stands closer to 5-feet-7 than his listed 5-9, weighed in at 181 pounds, eight less than Paul.
Gill has heard through third parties that Paul’s team thinks he is too old and doesn’t have a large enough social media following for Paul to fight him. Robinson was 36 when Paul knocked the retired NBA guard unconscious with a right hand late last year.
“He can think [I’m old] all he wants,” said Gill, who is an analyst for NBC Sports Chicago’s broadcasts of Bulls games. “And as a matter of fact, I got word from a couple of my friends that his camp said, ‘Well, he’s too old and he doesn’t have that many followers.’ Well, let me tell you, all you’ve gotta do is go to my Instagram account and see what age has done to me. And also, yeah, I don’t have 14 million Instagram followers, like he does. But you know what? I do have the contacts in my phone of 75 NBA players, including Shaq.
“All I have to do is call Shaq and tell him to put it on his Instagram. OK? And 18 million people will see it. And also, if he decided on me as an opponent, he has enough followers now and he has enough popularity now where it’s gonna make the fight big no matter who he fights. Yeah, I may not have 14 million followers, but 14 million people have heard my name before. I know Jake Paul’s ego is huge, but check this out, Jake Paul – the NBA is a lot bigger than you.”
To some degree, Gill feels fighting Paul would afford him an opportunity to avenge Robinson’s devastating defeat for the entire NBA fraternity.
“Part of it is because Nate was knocked out,” Gill said. “I heard Nate didn’t even spar and he didn’t go about the training the correct way. I didn’t like that Nate was laying there on the canvas. So, I guess part of me, yes, says I wanna do it for that reason. Because it’s sort of like when a big brother is off to college and the bully on the block picks on his little brother. That’s sort of the way I feel.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.