CLEVELAND – Jake Paul proudly withstood the flushest, most impactful punch of his brief boxing career Sunday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Tyron Woodley drilled Paul with a right hand that dumped Paul into the ropes with under a minute remaining in the fourth round of their eight-round cruiserweight bout. Referee George Nichols could’ve counted that as a knockdown because the ropes prevented Paul from falling to the canvas.
Paul appeared fatigued by that point in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event as well. The developing Paul survived that tense sequence, though, didn’t allow Woodley to hurt him again and went on to win a split decision to remain unbeaten.
Judge Phil Rogers scored Woodley a 77-75 winner. Rogers was overruled by judges Dana DePaolo (78-74) and Jaime Garayua (77-75), who scored six and five rounds for Paul, respectively.
The 24-year-old Paul’s performance was inconsistent in the YouTube superstar’s first professional fight that lasted past the second round. Paul proved, however, that he can take a punch.
Woodley, a 39-year-old former UFC welterweight champion, hit him harder than any of his first three opponents – YouTube rival Ali Eson Gib, retired NBA point guard Nate Robinson and retired UFC welterweight Ben Askren.
“Yeah, look, this is boxing, you know?,” Paul said during their post-fight press conference. “I hadn’t been hit up until that point in any of my fights, with 10-ounce gloves. So, that’s the first time I take a shot with 10-ounce gloves. I repeat, that is the first time I took a real shot with 10-ounce gloves in four fights. I ate it. It was a good shot. This is boxing.
“If you’re a mechanic, you’re gonna get dirty. But I proved I have a chin. You know, boom, get hit, come right back. OK, cool, you got that round with that shot. No problem. I learned from it, I made adjustments and he didn’t land it again for the next three rounds, so it is what it is. You know? I like that I got hit. I licked my gloves after that sh!t. Let’s go!”
The 6-feet-1 Paul didn’t seem to hurt Woodley with any of his punches.
Woodley demanded an immediate rematch after losing in his pro boxing debut. Paul promised to entertain that possibility if Woodley follows through on the penalty for losing their bet – getting an “I Love Jake Paul” tattoo.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.