Jake Paul Has Brought the Sport of Boxing to Its ‘Lowest Point’
Former boxer Gordon Marino writes about the bizarre spectacle of YouTuber Jake Paul pummeling out-of-shape ex-athletes in the ring, and why it’s so damn embarrassing for purists.
Boxing seems to be the only sport that has to defend itself against the accusation that it is more like a carnival act than a sport. To be sure, the gloved game has always had one foot in carnival going back to John L. Sullivan and the hundreds of times the Boston Strong Boy set up a ring and offered cash prizes to anyone who could last three rounds with him. The iconic Jack Dempsey had exhibition fights with wrestlers. In 1976, Muhammad Ali traveled to Japan to compete in a ridiculous contest with special rules against professional wrestler Antonio Inoki. That same year, heavyweight contender Chuck Wepner was tossed out of the ring in a farcical bout with Andre the Giant.
Yes, boxing has always had its sideshows. Nevertheless, since the rise of 24-year-old YouTube star Jake Paul to main-event status last Saturday in his Triller-promoted fight with Ben Askren, there has been an unprecedented flurry of swipes at the legitimacy of the noble art.
The insult to boxing comes in the form of the fact that Jake and his brother Logan Paul (who is preparing for an exhibition with none other than Floyd Mayweather) present the pretense of being authentic professional boxers even though they are unschooled and untested in this school of hard and dangerous knocks.