Boxing legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. will be the headliners Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles, but they aren't participating in a sanctioned professional bout. Their scrap is just an exhibition match.
Two people who will be fighting professionally Saturday have little combined boxing experience between them, but they are the co-features and could be responsible for a good chunk of the pay-per-view buys.
YouTube celebrity Jake Paul will take on former NBA point guard Nate Robinson in a six-round bout.
Paul has fought once before as a pro, stopping fellow social media star AnEsonGib in the first round in January. Robinson, meanwhile, spent 11 years in the NBA, won three Slam Dunk Contest titles and even played college football at the University of Washington. This will be his professional boxing debut.
It's a quirky matchup, but it could end up being one of the more entertaining parts of the night.
Paul vs. Robinson Fight Info
When: Saturday, Nov. 28 at 9 p.m. ET (main card)
Where: Staples Center in Los Angeles
While it might seem obvious to pick the former professional athlete over the internet celebrity, Paul does have a few things working in his favor. He's already fought and won twice, having boxed as an amateur on the undercard of his brother Logan's fight against YouTuber KSI in 2018, plus his previous win over AnEsonGib.
Paul, 23, is also much younger than Robinson, who is 36 years old and a couple of years removed from playing pro basketball abroad after finishing his NBA career in 2015.
Finally, the size difference should also favor the younger man, who stands 6'1" compared to Robinson's 5'9" frame. You don't often see discrepancies like that between boxers, but this isn't your average bout.
Paul is hoping a win over Robinson will set him up for even more ambitious boxing matches. He called out UFC superstar Conor McGregor in an interview with CBS Sports HQ:
He'll have to look mighty impressive against Robinson if he wants to get in the ring with one of the best strikers in combat sports, though.
Robinson appears to be taking this bout very seriously and isn't resting on his laurels as a pro athlete. He knows boxing requires a very different set of skills and physicality than that of a basketball or football player.
"It's been a challenge learning how to breathe and fight while you're tired," Robinson said, per ESPN.com's Eric Woodyard. "That's been the fun part. Like Mike Tyson said, 'Everybody has a plan until you get punched in the mouth,' and then you have to figure it out. I never understood that until I actually got in the ring for the first time with sparring, and I knew exactly what he meant."
Paul has spent much more time training as a boxer, but if Robinson can nail the basics, he should have a good shot at winning as the underdog.
As with any boxing match, both competitors will have to be wary of the other landing a fight-altering punch, which can happen when a boxer gets sloppy with his technique. Robinson might have to worry about that a bit more against the naturally bigger Paul.
That said, Robinson's speed and explosiveness helped him make up for a serious size disadvantage on the hardwood. It's possible those same attributes help him in the ring against Paul.
If he can avoid taking undue punishment, you might want to go with Robinson for the minor upset here.
Prediction: Robinson via decision
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