Jake Paul Defeats Tyron Woodley Via Split Decision in Cruiserweight Fight

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2021

CLEVELAND, OHIO - AUGUST 28: Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley face off during the weigh in event at the State Theater prior to their August 29 fight on August 28, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Jake Paul survived his toughest test yet as a professional boxer, defeating former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley by split decision in an eight-round bout Sunday night at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.

The judges scored the bout 78-74, 77-75, 75-77, per the Showtime pay-per-view broadcast.

Fox Sports' Skip Bayless felt Paul should have had a unanimous decision:

Skip Bayless @RealSkipBayless


Here's a look at the cards, per Showtime Boxing:

SHOWTIME Boxing @ShowtimeBoxing

#PaulWoodley official scorecards. Do you agree with the judges? https://t.co/EI9hGMbpIS

Woodley did get Paul into trouble in the fourth round with some solid punches, but he mostly struggled to get going. Paul was in control and more active for the vast majority of the bout.

Paul is now 4-0 in his professional boxing career. The 24-year-old Youtuber-turned-boxer has steadily increased the skill level of his opponents and has met the challenge each time.

"It was a tougher fight than I expected," Paul said, per the Showtime broadcast. 

Woodley, 39, was the second mixed martial artist to challenge Paul after Ben Askren, who suffered a first-round knockout in April. Many felt Woodley would have a better chance against Paul because he had proved to be a powerful striker in MMA, racking up a 19-7-1 record with seven knockouts, most of those on punches. He called for a rematch after the fight, but it will be hard to sell it considering he didn't create much drama outside of the fourth round.

Woodley started off slow, throwing only a handful of punches in the first round as he looked for an opening. Paul moved around the ring comfortably, firing off a double jab at one point but otherwise not doing much to initiate the action.

It was a similar story in the second round, per Boxing Insider:

Boxing Insider.com @BoxingInsider

2 rounds down. Woodley looking for the way, not letting his hands go. Paul moving, looking to use his reach and size advantage. #boxing #PaulWoodley

The third round started with a charge from Woodley, but Paul did well to absorb it and wrap him up. He then went back to circling and failing to pull the trigger. Paul was the more active puncher, but not by much. Former UFC champion Daniel Cormier wanted to see more from Woodley:

Daniel Cormier @dc_mma

Jake Paul is scared but Tyron isn’t throwing !

Woodley did catch Paul with a right hand to close out the third round, his best punch of the night to that point. It was a sign of things to come, as Woodley started to make inroads in the fourth. A left hook landed cleanly midway through the round, and then a straight right visibly stunned Paul, who bounced off the ropes.

Here's a look at the action, via Showtime Boxing:

SHOWTIME Boxing @ShowtimeBoxing

.@TWooodley tags Paul in round 4 😳 #PaulWoodley https://t.co/8j9Gnh9jJD

Paul regained control in the fifth and sixth rounds as Woodley took his foot off the gas. He started putting together short, sharp combinations with Woodley giving him ample time to load them up. Woodley looked better in terms of stamina, but he failed to press that advantage.

Clearly needing a knockout, Woodley finally let his hands go a bit in the eighth round. The ideas were there, but Woodley struggled to get in range to land his power shots. Too often, he was throwing them from too far away, and Paul was able to see the punches coming. 

Ring magazine's Douglass Fischer felt Woodley could have done much more in the final rounds:

Douglass Fischer @dougiefischer

I don't know why Woodley didn't let his hands go against a totally gassed boxing novice, but I guess he's simply unable to deal with lateral movement. Whatever. It was an entertaining bout despite the lack of punching on both sides. #PaulWoodley

Now might be the time for Paul to take on an actual boxer. He's won all of his fights and proved to be an excellent promoter, but he can only fight celebrities and MMA crossovers for so long (unless it's a true superstar, like, say, Conor McGregor). 

One option might be Tommy Fury, who is 7-0 with four knockouts as a boxer. Fury called out Paul after winning an ugly fight against Anthony Taylor on Sunday's undercard, per DAZN Boxing. Fury, 22, didn't look all that sharp against Taylor, but he has a recognizable name as the half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. He also gained a following for his appearance on the British reality show Love Island

If Paul wants to take on someone with a boxing pedigree and his own claim to fame, Fury certainly fits the bill.