Mike Tyson credited Jake Paul with “making boxing alive” as the YouTuber smashed ex-NBA star Nate Robinson in a bizarre celebrity contest ahead of his fight with Roy Jones Jr, but many were shocked by the farcical undercard fight.
Social media sensation Paul battered former point guard Robinson in a troubling spectacle on the undercard of Tyson’s return, repeatedly sending his 36-year-old opponent to the canvas before leaving him face down on the floor as he rushed into yet another shot in a display that lacked any discernable boxing skills.
Both fighters were warned by the referee about wrestling midway through the first round, with rapper Snoop Dogg among those laughing at the baffling encounter as he took co-commentary duties before Paul again called out ex-UFC champion Conor McGregor following his second-round win.
Rookie Robinson had declared he was fighting for his children, “brothers in the NBA” and “athletes across the world”, many of whom, including the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal, mocked him with jokes and memes about his performance in losing to an opponent 13 years his junior.
JAKE PAUL JUST PUT NATE ROBINSON TO SLEEP pic.twitter.com/UkKYVX3jGW
This how Jake Paul did Nate Robinson pic.twitter.com/WnvN6MA1Dt
Dawg 😂😂😂😂 https://t.co/Qdp532Qcf6
While the legitimacy of the license granted to Robinson was widely questioned, featherweight champion and former MMA fighter Amanda Serrano was one of the loudest voices to raise serious safety concerns after watching him take a resounding beating that left him poleaxed less than five minutes into the scrap.
“They need to stop this stupid celebrity boxing thing,” warned Serrano. “Boxing is a serious game – nothing to be doing for YouTube likes.
“Most amateurs turning pro fight four rounds. These guys are debuting in a six-rounder. Someone’s going to get really hurt one day. Not cool at all.”
Paul and Robinson were reportedly each guaranteed between $500,000 and $750,000 for their fight, as well as a cut of the vast pay-per-view takings from an event that many viewers in the US had paid around $50 to watch.
Paul pointed to the fight trending on Twitter and claimed that his callout to returning UFC star McGregor had attracted ten million views in an hour, leading Serrano to accept that marketing power would continue to prevail.
No way did an actual athlete get knocked out by Jake Paul that is peak lol.
I swear, 11 and 12 year olds know all the YouTubers. Son knew who Jake Paul was immediately tonight. Told me all about Logan too.
“[When] someone gets hurt, then they’ll stop this stupidity,” she added. “They all want a piece of the spotlight. It’s truly dangerous to do this without real experience. I respect this sport – nothing to play with.”
Tyson is thought to have earned at least $10 million from the headline bout, and the former heavyweight king said he was “so happy” that Paul had “joined the bandwagon with me and Roy.”
“Listen, my ego says so many things, but my reality is they help boxing so much,” he explained. “Boxing owes these guys, they owe these YouTube boxers some kind of respect. They should give them some belts because these guys make boxing alive.
“Boxing was pretty much a dying sport. UFC was kicking our butts, and now we got these YouTube boxers boxing with 25 million views. Boxing’s coming back thanks to the YouTube boxers.
“I didn’t know [Paul] existed until my sons wanted to fight him one day. I said, ‘Who are you going to fight? This guy? Come on,’ and he was a big star.
My brother Nate🤦🏾♂️ https://t.co/cdELhKk04B
Imagine going through 2020 AND getting knocked out by Jake Paul.
That was no representation of the NBA Family lol
“I believe the more anyone boxes, the bigger it is for the sport. Boxing took a couple of beatings since the UFC’s been around.”
McGregor became the most high-profile fighter to switch disciplines when he shared a reported purse of around $410 million with Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match in 2017.
“I have no problem with that Jake Paul guy calling out McGregor in boxing,” tweeted rapper RA the Rugged Man, who was unimpressed with the Irishman’s skills in the ring despite his performance in going ten rounds with the undefeated Mayweather.
“And if the YouTube guy beat Conor, I wouldn’t be shocked. Conor can’t box for sh*t. Neither guy is a boxer. They’re both celebrity boxers.”
Paul competed on the undercard alongside boxing champions including Devin Haney and Billy Joe Saunders when his brother, Logan, lost to YouTuber KSI in a highly lucrative event a year ago.
They need to STOP this Stupid Celebrity boxing thing. Boxing is a serious game. Nothing to be doing for YouTube likes. Most amateurs turning pro fight 4 rds these guys debuting in a 6 rdr. Someone’s going to get really Hurt one day. Not cool at All 🤦🏻♀️
Yeah until someone Gets hurt then they’ll Stop this Stupidity. I respect this Sport NOTHING to play with
They all want a piece of the spotlight. It’s truly Dangerous to do this without real experience.
“I think Conor and I will happen, for sure,” he said. “People laugh at that, but what other fighter is calling him out with this big a platform?
“I want to knock out everyone in his camp first. Dillon Danis is the guy who got punched by Khabib [Nurmagomedov in a post-fight altercation], that’s what he’s known for.
“I want to bring MMA fighters into the boxing ring. I’m taking this seriously. There are a long list of opponents I want: Conor McGregor, Dillon Danis, I’m going to knock them both out.
“There’s my brother, there’s KSI in the line. I want to be in this sport for a long time and I’m in love with it, so why not? People never believe in me, people are hating me – I have to fight through being one of the most hated people in the world, it’s not easy.
“Four weeks ago, I was meditating and fell flat on my face and broke my nose. We weren’t able to spar until a couple of days ago. I passed out on the concrete.
Jake Paul thinks he could fight Conor McGregor. McGregor would shred him into tiny strips of YouTuber meat https://t.co/FHeue6NSKW
Is it not a weird sports day when @jakepaul has the biggest knockout on a @MikeTyson card #boxingpic.twitter.com/2eiSf6bOxC
NBA players looking at Nate Robinson after he said he was fighting for them pic.twitter.com/VOj8Lw8iHw
“I’m only 23 years old. Deontay Wilder started when he was 21. I’m just getting started. I talk a lot of sh*t but I back it up. Actions speak louder than words.”
Robinson required prolonged treatment in the ring, later reassuring concerned fans in a statement.
“He was saying he wanted to continue the fight because of how many people were watching,” revealed Paul, agreeing with viewers and experts who felt the fight should have ended earlier.
“If it had been stopped in the first round, he wouldn’t have been knocked out on the ground for that long. It was a bad knockout.”