YouTube star and aspiring professional boxer Jake Paul will be taking his talents to Showtime Sports.
Paul (3-0, 3 KOs), a 24-year-old native of Cleveland who has grown to global fame as a social media influencer, has agreed for his next fight to air on the same network in which his older brother and fellow YouTuber, 26-year-old Logan Paul, will box retired legend Floyd Mayweather, 44, in a June 6 pay-per-view exhibition bout in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Showtime Sports confirmed Wednesday's initial report from ESPN. The network would not comment any further regarding the length of the deal or any specifics as it remains in advanced talks with Paul's team regarding a potential date, site and opponent for his Showtime debut. Paul tweeted out seeming confirmation of the report late Wednesday.
The brash Paul became a viable PPV draw over the past year thanks to consecutive knockout wins under the Triller Fight Club banner against retired athletes making their pro boxing debuts in former NBA Slam Dunk champion Nate Robinson and MMA star Ben Askren of UFC, Bellator MMA and ONE Championship fame.
The news was met with surprise to many as Showtime, with a rich history of promoting traditional boxing PPV cards featuring stars like Mayweather, Mike Tyson, Canelo Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao and newcomer Gervonta Davis, now takes a fairly large step into the world of more mainstream and crossover fights. In many ways, however, it shouldn't be.
Not only did Showtime promote and broadcast Mayweather's 2017 blockbuster PPV against former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor, Jake made huge headlines earlier this month at a Mayweather-Logan media day in Miami when he stole Mayweather's hat following a staredown. The stunt set off a wild skirmish in which Jake absorbed punches from Mayweather and his bodyguards.
Later that day, Paul had his new catchphrase, "gotcha hat," tattooed on his leg and began selling merchandise featuring the phrase on his website.
Paul announced during a recent appearance on Chael Sonnen's "You're Welcome" podcast that he was a free agent and even expressed interest about working with the UFC on future boxing matches following public beefs against current and former champions Kamaru Usman and Daniel Cormier. The comments came just days after UFC president Dana White dismissed questions about Paul and Triller at the UFC 262 post-fight press conference by saying, "Don't even ask me about these idiots. Who gives a shit?"
Ryan Kavanaugh, the CEO of Triller parent company Proxima Media, told ESPN on Wednesday that Triller wished Paul well but "we've gone the distance with him that we can go." Kavanaugh would later downplay the fighter's value by telling The Athletic that Paul "being anything other than an undercard for us would change it from novelty to unacceptable." He would later say regarding Showtime's new deal with Paul that "imitation is the ultimate form of flattery."
Although Paul remains unbeaten as a professional, it remains to be seen whether he has interest in going beyond celebrity fights to make a run as a traditional boxer.
The majority of his beefs as a self-proclaimed internet troll has been in MMA fighters, including Bellator MMA's Dillon Danis, whom Paul threw water balloons at during a drive-by hit while Danis was filming a segment for the Showtime digital series "Food Truck Diaries" with Brendan Schaub. Showtime, which like Bellator MMA and CBS Sports is owned by parent company ViacomCBS, is the exclusive broadcasting home for Bellator in the United States.