We all knew it was coming, right?

Outside of delusional sycophants who’d convinced themselves Jake Paul would actually become a world champion – and with all due respect to the seriousness he displayed in fight preparation – the rest of us pretty much conceded he’d eventually bite off more than he could chew.

Or he’d slap around a few more AARP-eligible cage fighters and perhaps another social media stooge along the way, and then fade off into whatever it is that outdated influencers eventually fade into.

But be honest. 

How many people thought Tommy Fury would start the “best if purchased by” clock running?

Not me.

Based on what Paul had done against his trio of out-of-place UFC alums and how Fury had looked in beating a particularly motley crew of anonymous B-siders, I figured the “Problem Child” would generate far more heat with big brother Tyson and dad John after the fight than he would with a pretty boy reality TV wannabe during it.

Then the first round arrived. And my forecast immediately changed.

Though I’m not suggesting that Fury will ever amount to anything more than an undisputed champion of the novelty fight division, it was instantly clear that his basic fundamentals – stiff jab, effective movement, prudent counterpunching – were far beyond anything Paul had encountered in six wins. 

Jake’s face was reddened, and his morale clearly dented by the end of those first three minutes and by the time the fight was only halfway complete it seemed his only path to victory was through the same kind of one-shot vaporization that ended Tyron Woodley’s upset bid in their second go-round.

He did get his knockdown with a hard left jab in the opening seconds of the final round, but it wasn’t a concussive enough blow to separate Fury from his senses or leave him in danger of not finishing.

In the end, I gave Paul two rounds – the third and the eighth – compared to five for Fury and one even thanks to the second of two one-point deductions from comically overactive referee Hector Afu.

But I’d be lying if I said I expected the judges to go along.

The rounds were just close enough to give the A-sider a flimsy case for victory if the scorers were looking to do so. Turns out only Mike Ross was leaning in that direction, as evidenced by a card that had Paul up 3-2 after five and in front by a point at the end thanks to the well-timed knockdown.

Nearly every unofficial scorer whose opinion I value had it figured in Fury’s direction as well, and the fact that the result went the right way staved off the “see, it’s all fixed” chatter from the conspiracy theorists and grenade-lobbers who’d already had a field day with Paul’s mere existence as a headliner. 

Speaking of that, the question of “what does he do now?” remains open.

Blow-by-blow man Ray Flores worked in some prescience amid his cheerleading when he suggested in the final round that "It is clear that Jake Paul and Tommy Fury were meant for each other” – effectively cueing-up the rematch that Paul had built into his contract as insurance for a worst-case scenario.

Hype machines aside, it's not untrue that Paul and Fury’s complementary skill sets – not to mention oil and water personalities – made for a compelling run-up and a competitive novice-level fight.

In fact, enough of the rounds were close enough to make it perfectly realistic that even a marginal uptick in Paul's work rate (he was outthrown 302-157) and/or connect percentage (he landed 49 shots to Fury’s 88) could change the outcome.

Of course, given that social media is where Paul became a name to an entire generation of nontraditional fans, it wouldn't be shocking to see him go there for a post-loss face-saver.

KSI has apparently done some rapping and acting (though I’ll concede I’m not directly familiar with his work) and he's among the few who shares the rarified social media air – 24 million subscribers on YouTube, 12.6 million followers on Instagram – that Paul breathes every day.

He waded into boxing with a pro fight against older brother Logan three years ago in Los Angeles and has since staged three exhibitions against a rapper, a journeyman fighter, and a fellow YouTuber.

Assuming Paul reverses the result against Fury or gets back on the winning side against KSI, the options he’d already been considering for the future could come back into competitive focus.

His KO of ex-NBA’er Nate Robinson came under an exhibition clinch-fest between retirees Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. in late 2020. The Tyson-Jones show did 1.6 million pay-per-view buys and created an audience for Paul and a run of ex-fighters to return, including Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Could “Money,” who’s fought six exhibitions since dispatching Conor McGregor in 2017, make his way onto a resurgent Paul’s radar – given their well-publicized hat-snatching past?


Mayweather weighed 155 for a weekend date with Aaron Chalmers in London and has suggested a showdown with Paul is possible if they could work out a fighting weight. 

Paul was 183.6 pounds against Fury. As a pro, Mayweather never fought heavier than the 151 pounds at which he tipped in for a date with Miguel Cotto in 2012.

“I think (Paul) was doing a sit-down on a podcast one time,” Mayweather told TMZ, “and he talked about it, and he said, ‘I don't want to do an exhibition against Floyd Mayweather.’ 

“He said, ‘I'm only doing real fights.’ And of course, I can't get high up in weight, but I'll fight him in a real fight at the weight that I'm at.”

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This week’s title-fight schedule:


No title fights scheduled.

Last week's picks: 1-1 (WIN: Matias; LOSS: Makabu) 

2023 picks record: 6-2 (75.0 percent) 

Overall picks record: 1,256-410 (75.4 percent) 


NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA "world championships" are only included if no "super champion" exists in the weight class. 

Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at fitzbitz@msn.com or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.