“Are we doing video?” Jake Paul asks, half-aiming the query at me and half-directing it in direction of his consultant on the Zoom name. “Err, yeah?” I reply. “I don’t often add the video from these kinds of chats, however…”
However it might appear unusual to interview one of the most important display presences of the final decade and never have him seem, nicely, on display.
‘Largest’ replaces ‘hottest’ right here, given the phrase ‘widespread’ tends to suggest widespread affection, and it’s honest to say that Paul is extra well-known than nicely preferred. Controversies have arisen at intervals because the American emerged on Vine in 2013, three years earlier than his two-season stint on the Disney Channel sequence Bizaardvark. Paul, 26, has however solely seen his profile develop within the decade since, with 20 million YouTube subscribers and 23m Instagram followers on the time of writing. Nonetheless, he doesn’t determine as a YouTuber or influencer anymore; he’s an expert boxer.
If his knockout win over former NBA star Nate Robinson in 2020 didn’t persuade you, or his knockouts of MMA stars Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren in 2021, or his resolution win over UFC legend Anderson Silva in October, then he hoped his fight with Tommy Fury would have. Nicely, type of; Paul would argue he doesn’t care what you assume in any respect, even after Fury outpointed him in February.
After I begin our interview – carried out every week earlier than that fight – by asking what the most important false impression about Jake Paul is, he takes a second to assume, earlier than laughing: “I believe individuals… they don’t assume I’m an actual individual. And I believe they choose me from my previous quite a bit, versus taking a look at who I’m in the present day. I believe, as people, we naturally do this, so I get it. However yeah, I believe that’s it…
“And so they examine me to my brother,” he rapidly provides, referring to Logan, 28, who has adopted an analogous path to his youthful sibling. “Each time he does one thing mistaken, I get in hassle for it. I might in all probability say that’s the most important factor.”
Jake Paul says individuals don’t assume he’s a ‘actual individual’
Paul has an nearly unrivalled proclivity for, merely put, winding individuals up. It’s one of the clearest explanations for how the American has secured bouts with some of the highest-profile names in fight sports activities en path to going 6-1, and it’s how he secured his fight with Fury – half-brother of world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson – and now a conflict with UFC icon Nate Diaz.
Paul, quite a bit of the time, is a troll, and a few individuals genuinely detest him for it. When associates first heard that I had interviewed him, their reactions eclipsed any curiosity they’d in the truth that I met Anthony Joshua for the primary time on the identical day. Love him or hate him – and also you’d in all probability say you hate him – individuals care about Jake Paul.
“I believe the sensible individuals on the planet see that I’m capable of play chess within the leisure trade and make actually sensible strikes,” the Ohio native explains. “Then there’s the sheep who’re like, ‘Argh, that child! I noticed he mentioned this! Blah, blah, blah.’ Like, I did that on function, to get you riled up. It’s advertising and marketing on the finish of the day.”
It may be argued that the facet of Paul that some discover irritating is only a facade, and pretty clearly so. Why, then, are individuals so irked by what he says?
“I believe as a result of it’s true,” he suggests, a slight smirk splitting his lips. So when Paul says one thing imply about you, he believes it – even when he doesn’t imply it. Just like the incisive, inebriated insults that you simply withdraw when the alcohol has washed away.
“The deepest insults are those that you simply consider to be true inside your individual thoughts,” Paul continues. “These are your insecurities. If I’m attacking these individuals’s insecurities, they’re gonna get all riled up, p****d off, bent out of form.”
Paul, for his half, doesn’t appear to take something that anybody says about him remotely personally. “Once they say something about me, I’ve handled all my insecurities as a person. I’ve appeared myself within the mirror and gone by so many religious, therapeutic journeys. You don’t simply all of a sudden not have insecurities, however I’ve handled mine. So, if somebody brings them up, it’s like… I don’t care, as a result of I really like myself.”
He hasn’t at all times beloved himself, although. When requested what motivates a younger man who has already reaped such riches, like a reported $38m net worth, to spend a lot of his time getting punched within the face, he begins, “It’s humorous…” earlier than following up with reasoning that’s something however that. Nonetheless, he smiles as he says it: “I would like boxing. Boxing saved me. I used to be in a brilliant darkish place in my life.
“I lacked self-discipline, lacked routine, lacked group, lacked ardour, lacked progress. Boxing gave me all of these issues, and I beloved punching individuals and getting punched! I really like the tempo of it, the technique, every thing behind it. It’s an artwork. Then there’s the build-up, the content material, the press conferences, the outfits. All of it made me fall in love with boxing, to a degree the place I would like boxing on a every day foundation simply to operate. I really like the game, that’s actually what it’s.”
And that’s the factor: For all of the criticism Paul used to get for not having fought a ‘actual boxer’, he has at all times taken this endeavour severely.
“It’s essentially the most intense factor you possibly can think about in your thoughts,” the 26-year-old says of his coaching. “I’m going to my restrict each single day. It’s a staff of eight individuals, absolutely devoted to creating this operation work – from power and conditioning coaches to stretch therapists to 3 boxing coaches who’re watching my each single transfer. It’s technique, it’s gameplan, it’s movie evaluate, it’s repetition – pounding it time and again. I’m finding out my opponent and coaching like an expert athlete, with state-of-the-art services. It’s as severe because it will get, as a result of my life’s on the road, so I’m not gonna take that calmly. And I don’t wish to lose, and I’ve all of the assets accessible to have the very best staff and issues round me.”
Earlier than the actual fact, Paul’s match-up with Fury in February felt like an endgame for the American; win or lose, he would have been capable of dismiss jibes that he had not fought an expert boxer. However it was not the endgame that many had predicted; simply six months on, Paul is ready to field 38-year-old Nate Diaz – an MMA fan favorite who achieved crossover fame by submitting Conor McGregor in 2016, and who left the UFC in September after submitting Tony Ferguson. At this level, it’s unclear what Paul’s endgame might be.
Nonetheless, “I believe I’ll at all times field, for positive,” Paul insists. “And I hope to be a boxing coach in the future. I’m clearly already a promoter; I believe I’ll promote fights for the remaining of my life,” he says, referencing his important work with champion Amanda Serrano, for whom he secured the primary seven-figure payday in girls’s boxing historical past.
“This sport is now an element of my DNA eternally,” he concludes.
Speaking to Paul, moderately than about him, you see glimpses of the “actual individual” that others don’t consider exists. But it’s largely all the way down to Paul that individuals don’t see the person behind the mocking.
Notice: Interview was carried out in February 2023; article was up to date in July 2023.