Since social media superstar Jake Paul transitioned to the squared circle, there has been one question at the center of every bit of criticism or support for his career: Is Jake Paul actually a good boxer? Rarely do those on either side of the debate actually drill into Paul's in-ring technique.
It's far easier to look at Paul's level of opposition as well as questionable -- and often offensive -- behavior from he and his brother, Logan, in the past. Then, simply write him off as not a serious boxer and someone with no notable skills between the ropes.
On Saturday night, Paul will fight for the sixth time as a professional when he faces 47-year-old UFC legend Anderson Silva in a. Silva, one of the greatest strikers in mixed martial arts history, is the first fighter Paul has faced who had any experience as a professional boxer. Silva is 3-1 as a boxer and holds a win over former middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Without a doubt, the fight with Silva is the biggest test of Paul's career. Silva has power, slickness and timing that often allowed him to make Chavez look foolish in their June 2021 clash. If Paul is actually a "bad boxer" as so many critics suggest, Silva will thoroughly work him over.
"I'm the young guy and he's really, really good and has more experience. He has the weight, the height, the reach so all the odds are stacked against me. He's very fast, very technical, very rangy, good defense, good movement," Paul said at the final press conference. "I'll have to be perfect on Saturday night. I know I'm capable of doing that but I'm ready for war. Skill aside, it might come down to who wants it more and I believe that's me."
With that in mind, Luke Thomas of "Morning Kombat" broke down Paul's technique to identify the positives and negatives in his game.
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Thomas identified six key aspects while creating a scouting report on Paul.
- Paul's best offense comes when he is moving forward, working behind the jab to set up combinations or to open other punches.
- Paul is able to read his opponent's defensive tendencies during a fight and alter his offense to exploit those reads.
- A large part of Paul's approach revolves around feints and body work. The knockout of Woodley in their rematch came as a direct result of previous body work, allowing Paul to dip as though he was going to the body with his right hand before whipping the right to the chin as Woodley dropped his guard.
- Paul drops his hands often, both when moving and punching, leaving openings that better opponents can take advantage of.
- In the first Woodley fight, Paul showed major deficiencies in his footwork and balance, often crossing his feet or being at a range where he would be forced to widen his base, which reduced the potential power of his punches.
- When throwing power shots, Paul often looked down rather than at the target area of his punches. This was a bigger issue in the first Woodley fight than in the rematch, when Paul's eyes were locked on Woodley's chin as he threw the fight-ending right hand.
Silva's camp has no doubt noticed many of these same things and has prepared their fighter to try and use his skills to exploit any available holes in Paul's game. Silva possesses the reflexes and technique to take advantage of sloppy moments of defense or footwork and Paul will need to continue to show improvements if he wants to remain undefeated.
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