Stephen A. Smith is fed up with Jake Paul’s selection of opponents thus far in his burgeoning career as a professional boxer.
Stephen A. Smith is known as one of the most outspoken members in sports media and is widely considered to be the face of ESPN. As such a prominent member of a network as watched as ESPN, Smith is known to spare no subject from his scrutiny. YouTuber turned boxing sensation Jake Paul is no exception.
Smith isn’t the only one talking about Jake Paul. The whole world is talking about him. Yesterday, everyone was given a new topic to add to the conversation when Paul’s next boxing opponent was officially revealed in former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. Smith was not at all impressed with the booking and contrasted Jake Paul’s career management with the much more gutsy approach of his older brother, Logan Paul.
“Let me say this. I am not impressed, not one bit,” Smith began in his Stephen A’s World soliloquy about Jake Paul. “While Logan Paul is taking fights way over his head, getting in the ring with boxing royalty like Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, risking a beatdown for the ages, by the way, Jake Paul is going the opposite direction…the complete opposite direction, fighting non-boxers.
“In his first three career boxing matches, Jake Paul fought a YouTuber; a former NBA player in Nate Robinson; and a former UFC fighter in Ben Askren, who is primarily a wrestler that showed up in the Octagon, not an actual boxer in the bunch. And look, I know, that’s fine. That’s fine. You have to ease into this. I get all of that, but at some point, you have to fight a real boxer, Jake. You have to fight someone with some muscle memory in the sport. I don’t give a damn if it’s an amateur! It doesn’t even have to be a pro! Just somebody with muscle memory for actually boxing! Not somebody like Woodley, who’s a UFC fighter, and a mixed martial artist, and a wrestler and all of that!”
Stephen A. Doesn’t Think Woodley Is A Big Step Up From Ben Askren
Even though Stephen A. Smith acknowledges that Tyron Woodley is certainly a better striker than Askren, he still argues that because Woodley has no experience as a professional boxer and has a wrestling background, this is yet another mismatch for Paul.
“Woodley’s not much different than Ben Askren,” Smith argued. “I promise you he’s a better boxer. He certainly is a better puncher. But he’s not a boxer. Remember Askren, who Paul took out by TKO in the first round back in April, looking like he (Askren) was fighting in the 1930s with his hands like this <antiquated boxing posture>? Remember that? A UFC guy, past his prime, Askren and Woodley…hey, y’all, they even wrestled together back in college. Wrestled. Not boxed. And if Jake Paul is ever going to get the respect in boxing that I know he wants, he has to face real opponents.”
Jake Paul Responds to Stephen A’s Remarks
Cautious not to come across as overly critical or misunderstood, Smith was sure to temper his criticism with some praise for what Paul has achieved in his young boxing career thus far and the eyes he has brought to the sport. Notwithstanding, Stephen A. still thinks Paul has now been booked against one non-boxer too many, and he’s had enough of it.
“And let me say this about Jake Paul. I love the attention he’s bringing to the sport of boxing. That’s a good thing,” Smith said. “And I respect his business savvy. I get it. Jake Paul is good for the sport of boxing. But here’s the thing: It isn’t really boxing if you’re not fighting an actual boxer. At some point in time, we do have to say that! Love Jake Paul, root for him, make that money, bro! But could you fight somebody with muscle memory as a boxer?! Come on now! Come on!”
While it is unclear if all the criticism and tough advice from Smith got through or if it went in one ear and out the other, there is no doubt that every word of praise registered with Paul. That’s because Paul decided to send the following message of sarcastic gratitude to Smith while sharing the Stephen A’s World segment.
“I love my fans. Thank you for the support and PPV sales as always @stephenasmith,” Paul wrote.
Do you agree with Stephen A Smith’s criticism of Jake Paul’s opponent selection thus far in his boxing career?