Jake Paul’s career as a boxer has been a bizarre sideshow that has nevertheless become one of the biggest spectacles in boxing. And now it might be over.
Hours after his fourth professional win, a split-decision victory over former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, the YouTube star tweeted an apparent retirement announcement.
«Updated status: Retired boxer,» the tweet read.
The announcement could very well be a joke, an actual retirement announcement or one of those temporary retirements that boxing sees so often.
Paul alluded to taking some time off after his fight against Woodley, the first bout in which he had ever gone the distance. He said the following to Showtime’s Ariel Helwani:
«I think I might need to need chill out for a second, figure out who I am. I’m only 24. I’m changing, I’m growing, I’m learning a lot. I’m going through ups and downs. I’m making mistakes, but I’m keeping my head on straight. I’m just going to get back in the gym when I’m ready and we’ll see.»
Paul obviously kept the door well open for a fifth professional fight, though, and he even appeared to accept a rematch with Woodley on the condition that the former MMA star receive an «I love Jake Paul» tattoo as part of their pre-fight bet.
Despite that supposed retirement tweet, Paul was dictating terms of the tattoo just an hour later:
He also alluded to more things to come in his post-fight news conference, but just as a way to put down his white whale Conor McGregor.
If this is it for Paul, it’s the end of a journey that quickly became one of the biggest pay-per-view attractions in the sport despite his lack of experience. It started with an amateur bout against a fellow YouTuber on his brother Logan’s undercard, and led to fights against another YouTuber AnEsonGib, former NBA player Nate Robinson and MMA fighters Ben Askren and Woodley.
The fights weren’t what would you call clinics. The Robinson fight was a comical farce in which the former Slam Dunk champion appeared to have no idea how to hit Paul. The Askren fight was similarly uninspiring, as the ex-Bellator champ barely got a punch off before going down in a TKO loss.
Throughout it all, both boxers and MMA fighters were unimpressed with Paul’s bid to become a real boxer despite never facing an actual boxer. It’s hard to see Paul actually walking away from a sport he has supposedly been so committed to and made so much money from, but predictability has never been a hallmark of the Paul brothers’ brand.