Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Paul-Silva: Another Novelty Or A Legitimate Test?


Ever since the influx of social media celebrities led largely by brothers Logan and Jake Paul began to enter the sport of Boxing one persistent question has continued to be asked, are they legitimate fighters or are they strictly appealing to a segment of the population for whom Boxing is a casual interest at best, a novelty? Although Jake Paul has compiled a record of 5-0, with 4 Knockouts in Boxing’s Cruiserweight division, he has yet to face someone with legitimate Boxing experience with his wins coming against a fellow social media influencer, a former NBA player, and two former Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) world champions, one of whom Paul fought twice. The second of those bouts against Tyron Woodley came as a result of a planned bout against unbeaten Cruiserweight prospect Tommy Fury, a boxer falling through due to Fury coming down with an illness and injury.  


As most know, Paul attempted to reschedule the bout with Fury to take place in the month of August in Madison Square Garden, but for the second time, Fury was unable to hold up his end to bring the fight to fruition this time due to travel restrictions preventing him from traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States for the bout. Although this should not be viewed as something of Paul’s doing, the fact that a fight against a fighter with a Boxing background fell through twice followed by replacement opponent Hasim Rahman Jr. being disqualified from the bout by the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) due to difficulties cutting weight in an attempt to move down from the Heavyweight division to face Paul, criticism of Paul and questions regarding whether he should be taken seriously as a boxer remain. 


Following the fall through of both a second attempt to fight Tommy Fury and a planned substitution being KO’d by the NYSAC, Paul will go back to the well once again, this time against another former MMA world champion in the form of former longtime Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight world champion and future Hall of Famer Anderson Silva. A fight that will take place on October 29th at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ and will headline a Showtime Pay-Per-View card here in the United States. On the surface, this seems like, yet another novelty bout based largely on the fact that Silva is forty-seven years old and is several years removed from his competitive prime in combat sports. 


The irony however, despite Silva’s Hall of Fame career in the sport of MMA is he actually began his combat sports career as a professional boxer and boasts a record of 3-1, with 2 Knockouts to his credit, which in an odd way presents something akin to what Paul would see if he took the conventional route to begin his Boxing career. Although Silva’s Boxing resume is not a long one, he did score an eight round split decision win in June of last year over former WBC Middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.  


Silva’s last bout in a Boxing ring was a first round knockout over fellow UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz in September of last year on the undercard of the highly controversial bout between Boxing Hall of Famer Evander Holyfield and UFC Hall of Famer Vitor Belfort. Although that entire event is something that should be viewed as a bad moment in the history of the sport for several reasons, Silva nonetheless did show that he still had punching power at an advantaged age as he quickly took Ortiz out in eighty-one seconds.  The obvious criticism of that particular fight even though Silva did produce a devastating knockout is he was facing someone in Ortiz, who did not have Boxing experience.  


The question that should be asked as this scheduled eight round Cruiserweight bout approaches is whether Silva still has enough in him to hopefully provide a bit of a test of the twenty-five year old Paul. While Paul has scored knockouts of MMA world champions Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley in his aspiring career, both of those men had wrestling backgrounds before entering the Boxing ring to face Paul. If there is a difference for this fight even though he will again be facing someone who’s primary sport is not Boxing is, at his best, Anderson Silva was a devastating fighter that could hit opponents with both his hands and feet, resulting in several brutal knockouts in his Hall of Fame career.  


Even though Paul has not taken the conventional route into Boxing, it should be pointed out that he is still very much a work in progress and if Silva has any semblance of his hand speed and punching power that he had during his prime years in the sport of MMA, this could prove to be a test that some including Paul himself may not expect. This observer believes that the answer to what Anderson Silva will bring into this fight will be answered very early as Silva has always been a slick fighter that looks to bait his opponents into making mistakes and attacking suddenly. Even with limited Boxing experience, Silva does hold a significant edge in overall combat sports experience compared to Jake Paul who is still a novice learning the sport. As such and keeping in mind the skills Silva has displayed both in MMA fights as well as in the Boxing ring, it is crucial that he use every bit of his experience to test Paul and make him uncomfortable. Jake Paul meanwhile has shown a solid right hand in his previous five bouts and it is logical to think that he will be looking to land what has proven to be a primary offensive weapon for him in this fight. 


 Although criticism will likely remain of Jake Paul as well as the concept of what has been dubbed “Influencer Boxing” regardless of the outcome of this fight, if Paul wins those advising him should say that it is time to focus on facing fighters with a primary Boxing background exclusively, if indeed he wants to be taken seriously as a boxer. For all his boasts, which like it or not does draw attention about how he wants to be taken seriously and hopes to become a world champion down the road, without focusing on facing boxers, and to be specific, fighters that will not only help him develop, but also if successful help him move up the ranks, same as any boxer attempts to do, he should not talk about facing anything resembling the top stars in the sport of Boxing, because frankly even though he has proven to be a good promoter, there will come a point where the novelty and curiosity of Paul will wear off. For the time being, it remains to be seen if Silva will be able to provide the unbeaten Paul a test. 


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.” 


Paul vs. Silva takes place on Saturday, October 29th at Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ. The fight can be seen on Showtime Pay-Per-View in the United States for $59.99. The event will be available through the Showtime app on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices/Smart TVs as well as through digital combat sports streaming network and pay-per-view platform FITE beginning at 9PM ET/6PM PT. Paul vs. Silva will also be available through traditional cable/satellite providers. Contact your cable/satellite provider for ordering information.  


To order and stream on the Showtime app, download the Showtime app on your streaming device of choice or visit www.SHO.com/PPV to order and for instructions on how to download the Showtime app. 


To order on FITE, download the FITE app on your streaming device of choice or visit https://www.fite.tv/watch/paul-vs-silva/2pbx1/ to order and for instructions on how to download the FITE app. 


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