Mairis Briedis apparently has no qualms about the wave of “influencer” boxing matches that has riled up the sport’s hardcore fanbase, if his newly-imprinted tattoo is anything to go by.
On Monday, the IBF cruiserweight titleholder from Latvia, a longtime force in the division, posted a video on his Instagram account (@mairisbriedis) that left no doubt of his desire to face Jake Paul, the YouTube star and current enfant terrible of the boxing world, inside the ring: Briedis is shown entering a tattoo parlor and getting ink on his left thigh bearing Paul’s name.
“Today we make some crazy scenes,” Briedis said at the start of the video. “Let’s go and see what’s happening, Jake.”
The complete design of the tattoo depicts the head of a bull with red eyes with the words “Jake’s Bad Karma” bordering the top and bottom of the head.
"Hey Jake, I've got something for you,” Briedis later said, as he flashed his fresh tattoo. “Jake, now it's your turn.”
Briedis’ unusual method of trying to get Paul’s attention was no doubt inspired by Paul’s instructions to former opponent Paul Woodley to get an "I love Jake Paul" tattoo. One of the biggest questions the critics have lobbed at Paul is if he can continue his success in "the sweet science" against an actual seasoned boxer; Paul has fought exclusively non boxers, including former NBA All-Star Nate Robinson and MMA fighters Ben Askren and Woodley.
Briedis, who technically campaigns in the same weight class as Paul, is hoping he can be the top candidate to put this hypothesis to the test – and, more importantly, be rewarded for it with a career payday.
This is not the first that the 36-year-old Latvian has called out the 24-year-old Paul (5-0, 4 KOs) but it is certainly the most dedicated instance of it.
Even Briedis’ handlers have gotten in on the act. Last Spring, Kalle and Nisse Sauerland, promoters for Briedis, issued a challenge to Paul – with a stiff caveat – to fight their charge.
"Hey Jake Paul - happy to arrange you taking a shot at Mairis Briedis' belts, only condition if you lose you have to leave boxing... Deal?," the Sauerlands wrote on Twitter.
The two fighters could not be more different. Although Jake is coming off a glitzy one-punch knockout of Woodley last December in what capped a banner year for the Cleveland native, he is still largely a novelty act. Briedis, on the other hand, is not only a veteran professional but arguably the best cruiserweight in the world; his only hiccup in the professional ranks came against Oleksandr Usyk, the Ukrainian whiz who became the unified heavyweight champion this past year after defeating Anthony Joshua on points.