Before Jake Paul lost to Tommy Fury in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of the year, the American still had the power to generate interest in his fights. At least, for all of Paul’s questionable opponents whose better days were undoubtedly behind them, you couldn’t categorically say that the YouTuber-turned-boxer was totally inept in the ring until he went toe to toe with a professional. Given that this was the case, there was a genuine curiosity around Paul’s ability - was he better than people were giving him credit for or was he just skilled at creating a facade? Following eight rounds against Fury at the Diriyah Arena, the answer became clearer; Paul’s string of previous opponents had lifted his profile and not the boxing skills he possessed.
Paul plots his return after Fury defeat
Now, five months on from Paul’s maiden loss, the 26-year-old is about to make his comeback with a fight against Nate Diaz scheduled for the 5th of August. It is, however, a familiar tale with the Paul vs Diaz betting odds pricing the American at 1/3.
Conversely, the latest boxing betting odds list 38-year-old Diaz at odds of 5/2.
What these prices indicate is that Paul has decided to return to a well-used blueprint of winning instead of attempting to convince the world that he does belong in the sport by continuing to try and beat an actual boxer.
The question is, will fans be prepared to buy what Paul is selling against a fighter at the back end of his career after the truth was revealed in Saudi Arabia?
Diaz's downward trend
Diaz’s last professional fight was in September 2022 when he beat Tony Ferguson by way of submission in the fourth round during UFC 279. Before that, Diaz had lost three of his last four UFC fights in a run that stretched back to 2016.
Additionally, an important point to consider when weighing up the credibility of Diaz’s win against Ferguson was that his opponent stepped into the Octagon having lost his last four fights; there was an unmistakable downward trend to Ferguson’s career that Diaz was able to capitalise on.
Of course, this irony won’t have been lost on fight fans given that this is the strategy Paul has become renowned for when choosing an opponent to further his unbeaten record.
Indeed, Diaz has now gone from hunter to hunted with Paul - his team is looking at a potential fight with the ageing UFC star and coming to the conclusion that it's winnable. This is exactly the same approach Paul took when offering Anderson Silva, Tyron Woodley, and Ben Askren lucrative fight deals, with Paul winning all of these matches. The bottom line is that when Paul comes knocking asking for a fight, the chances of success are slim.
The concept has grown stale
In other words, the world knows what’s coming which is why the game might be up for Paul. The only way for the 26-year-old to have kept interest in his career alive was to get back on the horse and fight another boxer. Having returned to a predictable way of operating by fighting UFC journeymen, Paul has effectively ended any chance he had of recapturing the public’s curiosity. For better or for worse, Paul’s boxing roadshow has entered its final stage with the concept now stale.