It’s official! The much-awaited boxing clash between digital-age boxing sensation Jake Paul and MMA legend Nate Diaz is locked in for Saturday, August 5, 2023. The pay-per-view event is ready to roll out worldwide and can be accessed on DAZN PPV, PPV.com and ESPN+ PPV.
Serving as the thrilling appetizer to the main crossover boxing event, undisputed featherweight world champion Amanda “The Real Deal“ Serrano is slated to fight with ex-WBO featherweight titlist Heather “The Heat“ Hardy.
Cleveland’s own Paul (6-1, 4KO’s) is itching for redemption following his split-decision setback against Tommy Fury, and aims to use Diaz as his stepping stone back to victory. With an unquenchable thirst for success, Paul is leaving no stone unturned in his preparation for this bout, hoping to shut down the naysayers with his seventh professional triumph.
Meanwhile, Diaz is making his boxing debut amidst a storm of anticipation, following a 17-year-long successful MMA career. Known for his unapologetic authenticity and relentless dedication to his crew, Diaz has carved out a niche for himself within popular culture, becoming one of the most sought-after free agents in combat sports. A pro for 17 years, Diaz has had boxing as a regular part of his training regimen, which he’ll now put to the test in the ring. His MMA resume boasts 22 victories, including the memorable defeat of Conor McGregor that handed the Irish fighter his maiden loss on American soil.
“When I was a social media star, no one respected me, no one cared. Now, as a boxer, people praise me, they think it’s the coolest thing, and I’m respected,” began Jake Paul in an interview with DAZN Boxing, reminiscing about his journey from a social media celebrity to a professional boxer. The professional ring served as his redemption ground, helping him conquer his past demons and find his identity.
“I had to defeat that monster and awake to my own self,” said Paul. The “monster” he referred to was the former version of himself, a young internet sensation caught up in the vortex of fame and fortune. The road to self-discovery, he notes, was made possible through boxing, discipline, healthy living, and sobriety.
Looking back five years, Paul confessed, “I couldn’t have ever guessed this, predicted it.” He was deep into the world of digital content, with over 800 videos filmed over a span of 800 days. But boxing offered him a new path and a new narrative.
His memories of social media are rooted in the early days of Myspace, Twitter, and eventually Vine. His initial videos were mere school pranks, yet their growing popularity and the financial gain they brought convinced him to shift to Los Angeles and immerse himself into the world of entertainment.
But the relentless quest for more subscribers, likes, views, and money led him into a “dark world.” “I had no idea I was digging myself into what would eventually become pressure,” he admitted.
Paul candidly discussed the mental strain of being a YouTuber. “It’s this terrible tunnel that you’re digging yourself into to keep on one-upping yourself,” he said. The pressures of success and the need to prove himself became a vicious cycle, trapping him in a role he no longer enjoyed.
Yet, he was desperate to achieve all that came with it, “I wanted to prove people wrong, I wanted to make money, I wanted to be able to retire.” The emotional dichotomy led him to a difficult juncture, from which boxing emerged as his saving grace.
The transformation didn’t happen overnight. As Paul embarked on his boxing journey, he admitted, “I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.” But it was the toughness of the sport that kept him hooked.
Boxing gave Paul a new sense of purpose and respect. He shared, “Being a boxer is way cooler. In the ring, you’re the modern-day gladiator, the center of attention, plastered all over the Internet, you go viral.”
While his victory over Deji was an adrenaline rush, it was the fight against Gib that gave him a real taste of professional boxing. Under the mentorship of Shane, he trained alongside higher-level Pros and learned the lifestyle of a professional boxer.
“Shane showed me that I had power, I was strong, I could knock people out,” Paul confessed, reflecting on the confidence he gained from the training.
Beyond the glory and praise, boxing gave Paul a greater mission – to inspire the next generation. “My goal is to become the world champion because I believe when I do that, it’s going to really show kids that they can go from being the laughing stock of a sport, not being taken seriously, and being written off as a joke, to actually doing it,” he said, earnestly.
Despite his loss to Tommy Fury, Paul refuses to be defeated. He admits to contemplating quitting the sport for a brief 25 seconds but quickly dispelled the thought. Instead, the loss served as a reality check, reaffirming his love for boxing and his desire to grow.
“Everything in life happens for a reason, and I needed that loss,” Paul said with renewed determination. The loss didn’t demoralize him; instead, it boosted his confidence in his team and himself. Now, he is certain that he can become a world champion.
Reflecting on his impact on the sport, Paul believes he has been great for boxing. He has introduced the sport to his 70 million fans, pushing boxing up to the third most talked about and interested sport for the next generation. “This sport saved my life, and so I want to help it get out there for more people just so it could save their lives,” Paul concluded.
His journey is not over. His plan is to continue fighting until he becomes the world champion. As for how long that might take? He guesses, “Probably three years.” No matter how long it takes, Paul’s commitment to the sport is unwavering, a testament to his evolution from a young, misguided social media star to a respected figure in the boxing ring.