On Sunday, Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury finally will step into the ring to face off in a one-on-one showdown. The fight is the third attempt to get the brash young men, both known more for their non-boxing exploits than their fight careers, in the ring.
The fight has been branded as “The Truth” by promoters and there may be no more apt label as much will be revealed about both Paul and Fury (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN+ PPV).
Despite facing a constant stream of criticism from boxing “traditionalists,” Paul has proven a dedicated boxer who uses his resources, gained from time as an actor on Disney Channel and a successful career as an influencer, to put together serious training camps. Still, his profile has led to a non-traditional list of opponents because he can’t face the low-level, no-name competition that makes up the start of almost every professional boxer’s career.
Paul started his career with a first-round stoppage of fellow social media influencer AnEsonGib before a vicious viral knockout of former NBA star Nate Robinson. He then set his sights on stars from the world of mixed martial arts, knocking out an out-of-shape and unmotivated Ben Askren before a split decision against former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
When the first planned fight with Fury fell through due to a Fury injury, Paul rematched Woodley and scored another crushing knockout. Another fight with Fury was canceled in late 2022 when Fury was denied entry into the United States, leading Paul to schedule a fight with Hasim Rahman Jr., only for that fight to also fall apart when Rahman took issue with the weight limit in the contract he’d signed for the fight.
The planned fights with Fury and Rahman were attempts to address one of the common criticism’s of Paul’s career: he’d never been in the ring with someone who’d spent years training as a professional boxer.
Paul would go on to fight someone who’d had success in the boxing ring in his next fight, taking on UFC legend Anderson Silva this past September. Silva had previously defeated former middleweight boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and presented an interesting challenge with his length, awkward style and legitimate skills despite spending the majority of his life as a mixed martial artist.
Paul scored a late knockdown of Silva and took a decision victory but again faced criticism that Silva was not a “real boxer,” as well as for facing a 47-year-old. Thus, Paul went back to the Fury fight one final time, with the bout placed in Saudi Arabia, avoiding the ongoing visa issues for the Fury family for their alleged ties to alleged crime boss Daniel Kinahan.
Fury, famous for both being heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s younger half-brother and for a stint on the television show “Love Island U.K.,” has had a more traditional boxing career than Paul, though whether that has been a better indicator of future boxing success is up for debate.
Fury’s eight professional opponents had a combined 24-176-5 record when they faced Fury, with almost every one of those opponents operating as a “professional opponent,” with careers that revolve around losing to fighters viewed as prospects of varying degrees.
In his most recent fight, Fury faced Daniel Bocianski, who entered the fight with a 10-1 record, though he was coming off a TKO loss in his previous outing. Fury took a decision in a largely uninspiring fight that did see him score one knockdown, though neither man did much of anything else though the fight.
And so, we finally see these two men, neither a truly accomplished boxer, both with resumes that don’t hold up to scrutiny set to finally battle to reveal some shred of “The Truth.”
At the pre-fight press conference, Paul proposed an “all or nothing” bet for the fight where, should Fury win, Paul would double his purse. But, should Paul win, Fury would receive no money.
The bet was eventually accepted by Fury’s father, John Fury, who said, “If he can’t beat Jake Paul, Tommy don’t deserve [to be] paid.”
Of course, these kinds of arrangements are often thrown around but basically never actually are held up in practice. Fury is making far more money for this fight than he has for any previous outing and the idea that he’d leave Saudi Arabia empty-handed with a loss seems unlikely.
The co-main event sees one of the champions in the division Paul and Fury typically call home in action. WBC cruiserweight titleholder Ilunga Junior Makabu puts his championship on the line when he battles veteran Badou Jack. Makabu, 35, holds a 29-2 record against mostly unheralded opposition. His last loss came in a big step-up opportunity against former champion Tony Bellew in 2016. He’s ripped off 10 wins in a row since then with seven coming by stoppage.
“I just want Badou to keep one thing in mind. I’m going to break your nose. I’m going to break your chin. I’m going to break your ribs. Thank you,” Makabu said at the final press conference. “I’ve been a world champion for many years. I’m a dangerous boxer. There is no way Badou can take my belt. I’ll go back home with the belt and still be the WBC champion of the world.”
“I’m here to take his belt, to win. I’m here to become the first Muslim fighter to become a world champion in Saudi. So, I am here to make history. Everybody’s got a plan until they get hit. I’m glad that he is confident,” Jack said. “I still feel young. I feel fresh. I want to keep going, and I am here to make history. Some people, win a title in one weight class. I won in two weight classes. Now, I’m coming for the third. And now!”
Let’s take a look at the rest of the fight card with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before getting to a prediction and expert pick on the main event.
Paul vs. Fury card, odds
|Jake Paul -170||Tommy Fury +145||Cruiserweight (185-pound catchweight)|
|Ilunga Junior Makabu (c) -190||Badou Jack +160||WBC cruiserweight title|
|Bader Samreen||Viorel Simion||Lightweight|
|Muhsin Cason||Taryel Jafarov||Cruiserweight|
It’s worth noting that this is an entirely appropriate fight for both men from a competitive standpoint. Both have proven themselves capable of handling the level of competition against which they’ve fought previously and both have the means and resources to put together comparable fight camps. In between the vicious trash talk and the questioning of both fighters’ true in-ring qualities, there’s a legitimately well-matched bout between two young fighters in need of exactly the level of opponent they are set to face on Sunday.
Fury is likely a bit better technically coming into the fight, but he has shown an inability to truly step on the gas against some low-level opponents in his career. His jab is very good and could prove the biggest obstacle for Paul to clear. If Fury can establish his jab early and keep it in Paul’s face, that may be enough to pile up points on the scorecard.
Meanwhile, Paul has legitimate one-punch knockout power. He has clearly gotten better fight over the fight, showing a willingness to learn and grow as well as an underrated adaptability during fights. Paul does a good job of processing information and using it to set up big punches and he also stays committed to throwing punches to the body. Paul can, however, get into stretches where he simply doesn’t throw enough punches while looking to land a bomb of a right hand.
Say what you will about Paul’s opponents to this point, but he has fought a series of men who are unafraid of competing on the biggest stage and who came into the ring with the expectation that they would win the fight. Paul has been able to handle those men and has grown along the way. Fury has yet to face an opponent who was truly a threat to win their fight.
With Paul the naturally bigger man with the more aggressive approach to fights, it feels right to side with him to win the grudge match. It’s also worth noting that Paul has gone eight rounds — the length of this fight — twice, while Fury has only gone a full six rounds once. Paul’s body punching could play a big part in how this plays out. Pick: Jake Paul TKO5