Internet star Jake Paul proved experience matters in his return to pro boxing on Saturday in the co-main event of the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. pay-per-view.
Paul (2-0, 2 KOs) scored a trio of knockdowns en route to a brutal second-round knockout of former NBA star Nate Robinson in their cruiserweight bout inside Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Although he held advantages of four inches in height and 13 years in age, it was Paul’s significant edge in boxing training that proved to be the difference. Along with having made his pro debut in January when he finished fellow YouTube star AnEsonGib in two rounds, Paul has done nothing but train this calendar year.
The 36-year-old Robinson (0-1), on the other hand, started boxing for the first time in August after calling Paul out and the results showed.
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“I have been training my ass off for the past year. I am taking this seriously,” Paul said. “There is a long list of opponents I want, like Conor McGregor and [fellow MMA fighter] Dillon Danis. I want to knock both of them out. I want to be in this sport for a long time. I’m in love with this so why not?”
The 23-year-old Paul did well early to hold off Robinson’s advantage in athleticism by avoiding the three-time NBA Slam Dunk champion’s leaping attacks as the fight largely devolved into a clinch fest featuring plenty of grappling.
Paul began to time Robinson’s forward attack and caught him with a right hand to the side of the head that dropped him in Round 1. Robinson regained his feet but held the back of his head with his left hand trying to sway referee Thomas Taylor that the blow was a rabbit punch.
The second round saw Paul continue to land clean shots as a looping counter right hand dropped Robinson for the second time and left him pinned under the ropes. Although Robinson was able to regain his feet again, the end would come shortly after in violent fashion.
Paul landed a three-punch combination that finished with a short right hand to the chin that knocked Robinson out cold and dropped him face first. Taylor instantly waved off the fight at 1:35.
“It was an overhand right [that finished the fight] but he was better than I expected,” Paul said. “He was athletic and super strong. I just want to say thank you to Nate. He was the one who originally called him out and I respect him. His basketball career was great and I don’t want to take anything away from him. He stepped into the ring and it takes a lot of balls to do that.”
The final punch stats saw Robinson outland Paul 10-8 in total although it was Paul who was more efficient scoring a trio of knockdowns off the eight shots he landed.
“For me, my whole life has been a fight so fighting is something I’m great at,” Paul said. “Being from Ohio in a small town and just fighting for success. People hating on me, I’m one of the most hated people in the world. It’s not easy.”
Paul, the younger brother of fellow internet star and aspiring boxer Logan Paul, talked after the fight about continuing his music and acting hopes, along with his fighting career. He also revealed that he broke his nose weeks ago during training camp after passing out onto a concrete floor while meditating.
Robinson’s 10-year NBA career ended with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2015. Originally drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 2005, Robinson last played professional basketball in Lebanon in 2018.
Some of Robinson’s teammates and rivals took to social media in reaction to the stunning knockout on Saturday, with most in disbelief as to what had happened. Robinson was awake and alert once he was taken back to the locker room after the fight, according to reports.