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Jake Paul has his biggest win yet in his campaign to become a respectable boxer.
The YouTube star defeated former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley via split decision on Sunday to improve to 4-0 in his professional career. He now holds wins over an MMA fighter, another MMA fighter, a former NBA player and a fellow YouTube star.
It was the first bout Paul has had go to decision.
The fight was uneventful over the first three rounds, with Woodley passive and seemingly uncomfortable in his foray into a different sport. Paul clearly won those rounds, but Woodley appeared to wake up in the fourth and landed a big shot to Paul's face.
Things could have easily tipped in Woodley's favor from there, as Paul appeared exhausted. The fight had already gone longer than Paul's other three bouts combined by the fifth round, but Woodley just didn't do enough to make up for Paul's early lead in points.
Woodley returned to his passive ways in the final rounds when he needed a knockout, and the win went to Paul, a conclusion the overall numbers supported.
Official punch stats for Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley. Woodley was outlanded by Paul in six of the eight rounds. Woodley landed 11 jabs to Woodley's 36. You absolutely can't win like that. pic.twitter.com/emGsnnLA1n
— Andreas Hale (@AndreasHale) August 30, 2021
Both fighters had issues with the scoring after the decision was announced. Paul said it was "bulls***" that one judge, Phil Rogers, had called the fight for Woodley, while Woodley was incensed that a different judge had only given him two rounds.
In the end, the three judges only agreed on the first two rounds according to the scorecards. Rogers gave Woodley a 10-9 win in the final five rounds of the bout, while Dana DePaolo gave the final four rounds to Paul.
Jake Paul appears to agree to Tyron Woodley rematch
It didn't take long for talk of a rematch to brew, as Woodley instantly called for one in his post-fight interview with Showtime's Ariel Helwani.
While Paul initially shrugged off Woodley's demand, a further prod led to Paul saying he would accept if Woodley got his promised "I love Jake Paul" tattoo as a result of a pre-fight bet. Woodley instantly agreed, leading to Paul calling out for the on-site tattoo artist.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) August 30, 2021
What else could Jake Paul do?
If Paul or Woodley renege on their apparent deal, Paul will obviously have a number of takers given the payday his fights now promise. Paul even got a callout from his own undercard, as Tommy Fury said he wanted a match with Paul after his win by unanimous decision against Anthony Taylor.
Fury later delivered that challenge in person via a backstage run-in with the man of the hour:
— Dev Sahni (@DevSahni_) August 30, 2021
When asked what his next step was before the Woodley exchange, Paul demurred and didn't even commit to a time he would return to the ring,
"I think I might to need chill out for a second, figure out who I am. I'm only 24. I'm changing, I'm growing, I'm learning a lot," Paul said to Helwani. "I'm going to get back in the gym when I'm ready and we'll see."
The bigger question may simply be when Paul faces an actual boxer. Granted, Woodley has been a professional fighter for more than a decade, but he is also 39 years old and entered Sunday on a four-fight losing streak in the Octagon. Even at his best, Woodley was always more of a grappler than a striker as a mixed martial artist and an All-American wrestler before that.
The same dynamic was at work when Paul defeated Woodley's college teammate Ben Askren, also a grappling-focused MMA fighter, in his previous match. Woodley was easily Paul's biggest challenge to date, as Askren barely threw a punch in his first-round TKO loss and former NBA player Nate Robinson looked like he had never boxed in his life when he lost to Paul via farcical knockout.
When discussing future opponents, Paul has mostly limited himself to MMA fighters. He has been pushing for a Conor McGregor match for some time now, but McGregor has his own issues to deal with. He also called for a fight against Jorge Masvidal in the run-up to the Woodley fight.
Whatever comes next, it's becoming ever more clear that people will be watching.