Former cruiserweight world champion, Johnny Nelson, has claimed Jake Paul is the biggest star in the sport of boxing bar one.
Paul fell at the first hurdle of his professional career by losing to the first boxer he faced in Tommy Fury. The Brit used his fundamentals well enough to outpoint his opponent over eight rounds.
Nelson, though, is filled with nothing but praise for the loser. The fighter turned pundit mused on Sky Sports about the impact the young American was having on boxing, and advised proper fighters to learn from his marketing.
“The old school, the old boys will look at this and think “why are these novices getting such a platform?” and the reason for that is because, fighters can learn from YouTubers, what they’ve done is market themselves where everybody and anybody knows who they are.
Whereas fighters don’t do that, they’re linked to their promoters and their managers but now you’ve got to move with the times … They need to learn “I need to package myself, give access to people”, get your mate following you around with a camera or whatever you’ve got to do.”
He went on to claim that he was the second top name in the sport – behind Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather – in terms of popularity, naming other superstars and placing them beneath him.
“Why has Jake Paul got in this position? That’s exactly what he’s done. He may not be able to fight as good as the other boys, but he is the second most popular fighter in the world right now barring Floyd Mayweather.
He’s above Tyson Fury, Canelo Alvarez, I know you might not like what I’m saying but go and have a look, what is he doing, he’s packaging himself, he’s attracting a crowd that we have probably not seen.”
Nelson – nicknamed ‘The Entertainer’ in his fighting days – recognised that Paul’s rise could be a problem if fighters don’t take his advice and up their marketing games.
“Unfortunately it’s going to impact the future of professional boxing because now the authenticity, the true talent and skill will be lost in this entertainment of the YouTube world and that kind of fighter.
Our sport needs to wake up quickly, if we don’t unfortunately we’re going to be saturated with less talented individuals that bring more attention. This is where the problem is.”
Jake Paul is expected to activate a rematch clause and face Tommy Fury for a second time. He claims to have earned $30 million from their first event.