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Jake Paul is Sports Illustrated’s 2021 Breakout Boxer of the Year and the 24-year-old is just getting started. Plenty in the sports world whined the past year about Paul needing to fight “real boxers” for his props, and without doing so, became the most talked about boxer on earth.
This is why Jake Paul listens to his camp and not talking heads on ESPN or Twitter. He’s his own man.
Hate Jake Paul all you want, but make no mistake:
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 5, 2022
Paul’s Youtube following has ballooned to 20.4 million, his Instagram has surpassed 18 million, and even on an app initially designed for children like TikTok — a sea of 15.7 million at his fingertips.
He’s a superstar and he didn’t have to hoist championship belts to prove his worth. The only thing that mattered was Paul’s pre-fight antics and his showmanship throughout his bouts. He ended up rematching Tyron Woodley after Tommy Fury backed out due to his own health issues, and none of that impacted results.
500,000 pay-per-view buys, according to MMA Fighting. A feat hardly any other athlete on earth can accomplish in a last-minute bout with Tyron freakin’ Woodley, a guy not many of us care about. When half a million tune in not caring who your opponent is and feel the need to see you get knocked out, you end up as Sports Illustrated’s Breakout Boxer of the year. Paul ended up blowing Woodley to smithereens with a sixth-round knockout that sent the internet into a frenzy. Jake Paul taught us a big lesson on boxing: celebrity matchups are proving to be just as lucrative as decorated fights as much as we wish that weren’t true.
Here’s what Jake Paul had to say after receiving this honor:
Some reflection after winning “Breakout Boxer of The Year”
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) January 5, 2022