It might be time to take Jake Paul seriously as a professional boxer.
on Saturday, via decision, in a boxing match on Saturday that, unlike some Paul fights in the past, absolutely lived up to the hype.
It was a back and forth contest, with most onlookers having it even after the opening six rounds. Paul was most successful at distance, landing sharp jabs to the head and body of the 47-year-old Silva, who fought mostly in patches. Silva's best success came when he fought tight on the inside, landing multiple sharp uppercuts to the chin of Paul.
But in the eighth and final round, with a marauding Silva looking for the finish, Paul landed a clean shot that sent Silva to the canvas.
Despite that, Silva made it the final bell, with Paul winning a decision, according to the judges, who scored the fight 77-74, 78-73 and 78-73.
Afterwards Paul was very respectful towards Silva in post match interviews. He also made reference to joining forces with Silva to create a fighters union, to make sure MMA fighters in particular are paid fairly. Paul, on multiple occasions has called out the UFC for its pay structure.
It was easily Paul's best fight to date. A fight in which he looked comfortable competing with a combat sports veteran with decades of experience. Paul was able to land multiple clean shots on Silva, a fighter once known for his matrix-like head movement. His improvement from previous bouts against Tyron Woodley appeared substantial. Despite starting the sport late, Paul has evolved into a boxer with a great handle on the basics. Paul is a defensively sound fighter who has made himself extremely hard to hit.
Paul's next opponent will most likely be Nate Diaz, who was in attendance at the fight, and involved in a backstage skirmish with members of Paul's crew.
Diaz, who just fought out the last fight of his UFC contract with a win over Tony Ferguson, has expressed interest in boxing, but would be a step down for Paul in terms of competition. Diaz fought most of his career in the UFC at 155 pounds. Paul usually fights at around 187 pounds. Regardless, it would be a blockbuster fight. Diaz is one of the UFC's most consistent draws. At this point, however, it feels like Paul needs to step up and fight an experienced professional boxer.