The Real Winners and Losers from Tyron Woodley vs. Jake Paul Card

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2021

The Real Winners and Losers from Tyron Woodley vs. Jake Paul Card

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    There was Major League. Then the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

    And let's not forget the on-again, off-again love affair with LeBron James.

    But nothing on the Cleveland-area scene was quite like what arrived Sunday night.

    The city's premier downtown venue—known these days as the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse—was ground zero for the latest co-mingling of social media influence and combat sports relevance, which matched unbeaten "boxer" and Ohio native Jake Paul with foundering former UFC champion Tyron Woodley.

    Paul, 24, arrived having beaten a fellow YouTuber, a former NBA player and a retired mixed martial artist in three previous "bouts," while the ex-octagonal stalwart, now 39, had won precisely zero bouts in nearly three years, losing once in 2019, twice in 2020 and once earlier this year before making the switch to the ring.

    Their match topped a five-bout card produced by Showtime and available on a pay-per-view basis for $59.99.

    The B/R combat sports team, fresh off last week's inglorious Manny Pacquiao fight, was front and center once again for the goings-on alongside Lake Erie—compiling the show's definitive list of winners and losers.

    Click through to see what we came up with, and share some of your own personal influence in the comments.

Winner: Fighting the Good Fight

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    If you wanted to see Jake Paul in competitive peril, you did.

    If you wanted to see him lose, you didn't.

    Already the undisputed ringleader of the social media boxing circus, Paul got his stiffest test from aging mixed martial artist Woodley but nevertheless gutted it out to earn a fairly scored split decision in their eight-round main event at a contracted 190-pound weight limit.

    Two judges gave it to Paul by 77-75 and 78-74 scores, while a third saw it 77-75 in Woodley's direction.

    B/R split the difference and saw it even at 76-76.

    "It may not have been pretty," Showtime's Mauro Ranallo said, "but it was a work of heart from Jake Paul."

    Paul landed 71 punches to 52 for Woodley, including a 22-6 edge in body shots.

    "I don't know what to say; he's a tough opponent," Paul said.

    "He's been doing this for 20 years. I've been doing it for three. It was tougher than I expected. He put up a good fight. He's a good boxer. I have nothing but respect for him."

    Woodley immediately called for a rematch, claiming he landed the harder power punches. He did have the most significant volley of the night, drilling Paul with a left hook and a right hand that had the taller man wobbling backward with his head under the top rope.

    Woodley was never seriously hurt, but he didn't sustain his pace in enough of the rounds.

    Paul seemed to balk at the idea of a second bout, but he said he'd agree to it if Woodley got the "I love Jake Paul" tattoo in the locker room that he'd promised to get before the fight.

    Paul suggested Woodley only wanted the return bout for the money, but Woodley replied by saying: "I don't want the payday. I want the fight."

Loser: Co-Main Mayhem

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    Amanda Serrano promised a show-stealing effort.

    So if that's how you judged her work on Sunday, it was something less than extraordinary.

    Still, though the 32-year-old champion didn't exactly have the crowd riveted during a 126-pound title bout with Yamileth Mercado, she managed to walk away with her belted status intact.

    Entering Sunday a winner in 11 world title fights across a remarkable seven weight classes, Serrano scored a unanimous albeit desultory 10-round decision to defend her IBO, WBC and WBO featherweight crowns.

    The judges scored it 97-93, 98-92 and 99-91 in her favor, giving her 30 of a possible 36 rounds on the three official scorecards.

    Mercado won a title of her own at 122 pounds and has defended it twice, but her belt was not on the line.

    "She's a champion in her own weight class and a tough opponent," said Serrano, who remained unbeaten in 27 fights since her lone career loss in 2012. "I hope some of these people become fans of female fighting."

    Serrano captured her first title, at 130 pounds, in 2011. She added belts at 135, 126 and 122 by the end of 2016 and then copped additional jewelry at 118, 140 and 115 by the first month of 2019.

    A high-profile defeat of then-unbeaten Heather Hardy kicked off another reign at 126, where she's stayed for two years while trying to become the sport's first undisputed Puerto Rican champion.

    "As long as I'm in the top class with (the pound-for-pound greats), I'm good," Serrano said. "Katie Taylor is a fight I'd like to get."

Winner: A Dynamite Debut

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    This just in: England is pretty good at heavyweight boxing.

    Once-beaten power-puncher Daniel Dubois made his initial business trip across the Atlantic a wildly successful one, scoring three knockdowns in lightning-quick fashion to register a first-round stoppage of journeyman foe Joe Cusumano in their scheduled 10-rounder.

    It was his 17th victory as a pro, all but one coming by inside-the-distance finishes.

    "I rushed it a little bit," he said. "But I went for the kill. The rest is history."

    Indeed, Dubois dropped Cusumano to the floor with a right hand that landed on the side of his opponent's head shortly after he'd landed most of the shots in a multipunch combination. Cusumano was up at 9 but down again less than a minute later when Dubois landed a sweeping right hand.

    Cusumano was again up at 9, but he never got off the ropes and was dumped for the final time when Dubois landed three right hands amid a four-punch volley.

    The fight was officially waved off at 2:10 of the first.

    It was the second straight win for Dubois since his only career loss, a 10th-round KO by fellow British contender Joe Joyce. Dubois was winning the bout on two cards but took a knee after suffering a fractured left eye socket.

    "Look at me now," Dubois said. "I'm back and I'm ready to go. The greatest is still to come. This is still just a step in the right direction for me."

Winner: Feeling the Love

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    Ivan Baranchyk was easily the most decorated male boxer on the card.

    He'd been a champion at 140 pounds, won all but two of 22 professional bouts and arrived as the seventh-ranked contender in the world by the Ring.

    But he was no match for a Clevelander named Montana Love.

    The 26-year-old hometown product got the biggest pop of the night from the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse crowd when his scheduled 10-rounder with Baranchyk was stopped by the ex-champ's corner after the seventh round.

    "Can you feel the love tonight," Ranallo bellowed at the fight's end.

    "He loves sweets, and it doesn't get any sweeter than this."

    Love, who was 15-0-1 against unheralded opponents, was in charge nearly from the moment things started thanks to fluid side-to-side movement and precision with jabs and straight lefts from a southpaw stance. He strafed Baranchyk with those shots all night long and finally dropped him with a brutal left uppercut in the final few seconds of the seventh.

    Baranchyk rose by the count of 8 but was unsteady heading back to his corner, and his lead trainer immediately began cutting off his gloves upon his arrival to the stool.

    "We've been working on the uppercut the whole time in camp. We brought it to life," Love said. "The game plan was to move. We knew he had no feet. We knew he was going to open up."

    Love outlanded Baranchyk 80-45.

    "Strap me up. It's my time," he said. "Josh Taylor. Gervonta Davis. They've got the belts in my division. Line 'em up and make it happen as soon as possible."

Loser: Acing the Interview

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    Tommy Fury took all four rounds. He maintained his unbeaten record.

    And he pitched a competitive shutout in his debut on American soil.

    But that was the end of the good news.

    The younger half-brother of heavyweight champ Tyson Fury did essentially nothing to get what he wanted most—a follow-up fight with Jake Paul—by going the distance with winless one-fight foe Anthony Taylor.

    All three judges, and presumably anyone who has ever watched a fight, scored it 40-36 for Fury.

    Still, Taylor was never knocked down and never appeared in significant jeopardy across the 12 minutes, and the only time he hit the canvas was when he tripped over Fury's foot in Round 3.

    Fury landed better than 40 percent of his total punches and was a 73-29 winner in that statistical category, but he was greeted with a chorus of boos from the in-house crowd at the fight's end.

    "I think he may have blown a big opportunity to align himself with Jake Paul," longtime MMA analyst Ariel Helwani said. "I don't know if he goes to Tommy Fury as his next opponent."

    Fury seemed like he recognized that reality during his post-fight interview with Helwani, immediately professing his love for the fans in Paul's hometown and downgrading his own performance to goad Paul into an easy would-be payday.

    "Jake Paul should have an easy night now, eh? So he has no excuses not taking the fight," Fury said. "It should be easy. I went four rounds with his sparring partner. It should be no test at all."

Winner: Broadcast Credibility

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    It didn't take long for this one to feel different.

    Where recent pay-per-view broadcasts featuring Mike Tyson against Roy Jones Jr. and later Logan Paul against Floyd Mayweather Jr. leaned heavily into the carnival atmosphere, it felt like Showtime was going a long way toward making this one seem a bit more legit.

    The broadcast opened with a panel featuring Showtime emcee Brian Custer alongside boxing mainstays Mauro Ranallo and Al Bernstein, who were flanked by longtime MMA analyst Ariel Helwani.

    Tyson and Jones, which was broadcast by Triller last year, included Snoop Dogg on the broadcast team, while late-night hosts Desus and Mero were ringside for Mayweather and Logan Paul in June.

    In fact, if you hadn't been aware of the nature of Sunday's event, the open wouldn't have indicated it.

    The only lean toward full-on buffoonery was the inclusion of two foul-mouthed and not particularly insightful bettors in a makeshift satellite studio sponsored by Barstool Sportsbook. 

    "This is new to all of us," Ranallo said.

    "For more than 100 years, the path to pro boxing was singular. [Jake Paul] is as polarizing as the Earth's axis, and that's not a bad thing when it comes to selling pay-per-views."

    Bernstein, an International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee, agreed.

    "[Jake Paul] came to the sport with his own constituency, and those people are happy to buy pay-per-views to watch him fight," he said. "He's not here to replace anyone in boxing. He's not the elixir in any way. He can stand out there next to all the other great fighters on Showtime."

Loser: Undercard Exposure

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    Charles Conwell had one of the night’s best performances.

    Too bad nearly no one saw it.

    The Cleveland native and 2016 U.S. Olympian was the impressive winner in the lone bout not shown on the pay-per-view broadcast, dumping previously unbeaten foe Juan Carlos Rubio in the third round of a scheduled 10-rounder in the junior middleweight division.

    Conwell’s 16th straight win as a pro came before a still-filling arena in the hour before the Showtime panel took to the air at 8 p.m. ET. He pressured Rubio throughout the first round, dropped him in the second and punished him throughout the third before referee Lonnie Scott stopped it at 2:49.

    Rubio arrived with 18 consecutive wins, but his last six foes had compiled an 84-90-5 record.

Full Card Results from Tyron Woodley vs. Jake Paul

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    Main Card

    Jake Paul def. Tyron Woodley by split decision (77-75, 78-74, 75-77)

    Amanda Serrano def. Yamileth Mercado by unanimous decision (97-93, 98-92, 99-91)

    Daniel Dubois def. Joe Cusumano by TKO, 2:10, Round 1

    Montana Love def. Ivan Baranchyk by TKO, 3:00, Round 7

    Tommy Fury def. Anthony Taylor by unanimous decision (40-36, 40-36, 40-36)

    Charles Conwell def. Juan Carlos Rubio by TKO, 2:49, Round 3