Jake Paul said he feels like he's "living in a movie" after the YouTuber-turned-boxer defeated childhood hero and UFC legend Anderson Silva on points in an eight-round boxing bout on Saturday night.
Paul (6-0) won a unanimous decision against Silva — punctuating the victory with his eighth-round knockdown — as he continues his quest for respect after starting to take boxing seriously just three years ago.
“It’s surreal,” Paul, 25, said. “I don’t think it’ll hit me until a couple weeks from now. I feel like I’m living in a movie. (Silva) was the one that told me I could accomplish anything if I set my mind to it. You couldn’t have written this in a story.
“I had to go in there and match his heart tonight,” Paul added. “The heart that I saw through the TV screen when I was a kid.”
The entertaining fight went the eight-round distance and the final round ensured it ended on a high, with Paul’s right hand sending Silva to the canvas. The 47-year-old Silva was able to continue and even landed some punches in the final minute, but it wasn’t enough to sway the judges.
“That wasn’t even the hardest punch of the night,” Paul said. “It was just the timing.”
The fight was slow to develop, with Silva rarely throwing punches in the opening round, but the Brazilian landed a few hard shots in the second, dancing around the ring while avoiding Paul’s biggest blows.
Both fighters exchanged some taunts in the early rounds but the bravado gave way to concentration as both realised it would be a lengthy fight.
Paul held his own during the middle rounds — with blood coming from Silva’s nose — but couldn’t land most of his powerful swings. That started to change in the later rounds as the younger Paul gained confidence and the punches started connecting.
Two judges scored the fight 78-73 while a third scored it 77-74.
“He took so many hard shots throughout the whole fight,” Paul said. “The dude is a real dog. You see what happens to everyone else that gets hit with that. He’s the toughest guy in the world but I just wanted it more.”
It was a spectacle in front of more than 14,000 fans at Glendale, Arizona that mixed boxing and all different types of celebrity, but the main draw was the 25-year-old Paul, who has shown a surprising knack for skills in the ring.
He is also a master of self-promotion, riding up to Wednesday’s open workout on a horse and walking around Desert Diamond Arena on Saturday with two people in gigantic Transformers-like outfits behind him.
Silva (3-2) was the fan favourite, receiving loud cheers when he entered the ring. He built his fame as a UFC star but got his start in boxing and returned to the sport in 2020.
“That’s the game,” Silva said. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But nothing will change in my life. I’ll continue training hard because I’m born for this.”