Daily News Social: Paul Wants Legitimacy, A Deal For Wood, And Some Egg And Smash

In a new series, published every weekday on Boxing Social, the incomparable Terry Dooley delivers his unique look at the boxing news.    

Jake Paul (3-0, 3 KOs) has clearly got an eye on entering the coaching side of boxing when he decides to call time on his professional career. The undefeated YouTube star turned boxer takes on former UFC titlist and boxing debutant Tyron Woodley at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland on the 29th of this month and he has told TMZ that Woodley’s decision to train alongside Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a big mistake. 

Drawing on his vast experience and in-depth boxing knowledge, the 24-year-old explained that Woodley’s decision to work with Mayweather and a number of coaches to bring the 39-year-old up to speed will not help him on fight night. He also tried to argue that Mayweather can only show him one style of fighting, albeit one that allowed “Money” to hit 50-0 before heading into semi-retirement.  

“I think it’s a disadvantage,” he said. “Hopping around with different coaches, trying to learn different styles. That’s not how you progress in this sport. Floyd didn’t even have a strategy to go in and beat my brother, so how is he going to tell Tyron what to do.” 

Paul was of course referring to his brother Logan’s recent exhibition match with Mayweather. It was fought under old-style exhibition rules, so there wasn’t a decision rendered at the end of it. The fact Logan either managed or was allowed to stay on his feet by Mayweather has prompted talk of another “fight” of this type, with the other Paul brother clearly angling for some form of money-spinning meeting with Mayweather.  

Despite having what is on paper a legitimate fight on his immediate horizon, Paul is angling for another high-profile outing after he meets Woodley. Woodley has been all but dismissed by Paul, who believes he has the pulling power to entice the biggest names in combat sports into the ring with him.  

Paul recently told talkSPORT that he wants to prove he is a legitimate boxer before fighting Saul Alvarez in a dream match-up. However, unlike some of the other names on Paul’s list, Alvarez can still make money in legitimate fights, so Paul took to social media to throw up names such as Conor McGregor and even Logan on his shopping list of potential opponents.  

Any mixture of those names would make money for Paul, but it doesn’t jive with his claims that he is in boxing for all of the right reasons. “My goal is to become a world champion to laugh and say I did it,” he stated when asked why he is involved in boxing. 

“It’s about making history and proving people wrong — I want to leave an everlasting legacy. I know I can become one of the best in the world in this sport. Boxing is the perfect way to prove haters wrong…I want to show all the people who have doubted me and said, ‘Oh he’s not a boxer, he’s not a professional, he’s a YouTube kid and not a real fighter’.” 

Still, this desire to strive for legitimacy is not being played out by his career choices thus far so the suspicion is that Paul, and his brother, will continue to dip in and out of boxing the way most of us use an ATM, which is their prerogative, but if this continues to be the case then neither of them will get the respect that they claim to crave and deserve. Anyone who steps into the ring deserves our respect, but it also has to be earned.

Nottingham’s Leigh Wood (25-2, 15 KOs) claimed the WBA’s World featherweight title last month by impressively dismantling then stopping Xu Can (18-3, 3 KOs) in round 12. Wood’s win left him with plenty of options and even more avenues will open up for him after signing a multi-fight deal with Eddie Hearn. 

Wood now has the heavyweight backing of Matchroom and DAZN behind him and will continue to improve under trainer Ben Davison, with Dave Coldwell still onboard as manager there is a lot to come from the 33-year-old, especially as newly minted IBF titlist Kid Galahad is also promoted by Hearn  

“I’m really excited to be working with Matchroom who in my opinion are leading the way in professional boxing,” said Wood. “I’m confident that they can deliver and help me achieve my dream on the biggest stage in boxing. Winning the WBA title at Fight Camp was just the beginning for me. I want all of the big fights out there. I said I wanted the Emanuel Navarrete fight because he’s explosive like me, that’ll be absolute fireworks. Let’s unify the division. My best years are definitely ahead of me.” 

“The featherweight division is on fire right now in the U.K. and there are some huge unification fights out there also,” added Hearn. “We have the platform to box Leigh anywhere in the world, but I’d love to land him a big fight at the City Ground next year.” 

“Leigh is one of the most improved fighters in the UK and has a brilliant team behind him in Ben Davison, Lee Wylie and Barry Smith,” said Coldwell. “To go in at six weeks’ notice and turn in a performance like that shows that he belongs on the biggest stage. This is only the beginning for Leigh as he targets unification fights in the featherweight division.” 

Sam Eggington’s (30-7, 18 KOs) first fight of his new multi-fight deal with promoter Mick Hennessy could be a potential banana skin as the 27-year-old meets France’s Bilel Jkitou (15-0, 6 stoppages) in a WBC Silver middleweight title defence at Coventry’s Skydome On September 10.  

It has often been a case of “Two steps forward, one step backwards” for “The Savage” as wins over Frankie Gavin and Paulie Malignaggi were followed to a EBU title loss to Mohamed Mimoune. Eggington also lost to Hassan Mwakinyo, Liam Smith and Ted Cheeseman in bruising encounters, and you can never be certain of anything but drama when he is in the ring. 

Eggington, though, believes that Hennessy is the right man to guide him to a world title, beginning with the fight against Jkitou, which will be shown live on Channel 5 as part of the promoter’s ongoing deal with the terrestrial channel. 

“I know that Jkitou will be coming into the ring as a hungry challenger looking to knock me out and take my crown, but there’s no way he’s going to do that,” said Eggington. “He’ll be going all out to beat me and make a name for himself but knowing that he wants to destroy my plans makes me train harder and makes me even more determined to smash him up. There’s no way he’s beating me or taking my belt. 

“I’ve worked too long and hard in my career and I’m at the point of challenging for a world title so I cannot let all that blood, sweat and tears be for nothing,” he added. “He’d better be prepared for a war in there on the night because I’m putting everything on the line.” 

Eggington’s crowd pleasing style is both a gift and a curse, something that his team, led by Jon Pegg, has tried to refine over time. Jkitou, therefore, has argued that he is the better boxer and that this will lead him to victory. 

“He is a very good boxer with qualities and flaws, I think he has never boxed a boxer as smart as me,” he predicted. “The tactics will make the difference in this fight. I think I would beat him by knockout or by stoppage in the eighth or ninth round. If he underestimates me that’s fine for me, it’s the truth in the ring, If I beat Eggington I’ll come back as a hero in France and with a good position on my standings, it’s one of the most important fights of my career.” 

To call the often talked about potential fight between Amir Khan (34-5, 21 KOs) and Kell Brook (39-3, 27 KOs) an “On-off affair” would be doing both them and the sport itself a favour. The fight has not come close to being on yet there is still hope for those who are holding out for it after Khan was pictured attending a meeting with Eddie Hearn to discuss his next move. 

The failure on both sides to make any progress has turned what was once a tantalising fight into a running joke among British boxing fans, many of whom have also run the proposed contest into the ground by talking one or both fighters down. Yes, both fighters are past their best, both have failed to set the world alight lately and yet neither party seems willing to give an inch when it comes to getting this fight over the line despite the fact is it the best bet for both of them.  

Hopefully, their recent mixed results coupled with the growing boredom over the saga might make them realise that, in lieu of other options, they might finally have to thrash out the terms required to finally make this one a reality. Although if recent history has shown us anything it is that we might end up talking about a fight that once again fails to make it past the planning stage.