Jake Paul and Tommy Fury will finally meet in the boxing ring on Feb. 26 in Saudi Arabia. After nearly a year of pointed shots in the media from both sides, the social media superstar will finally prove once and for all whether or not he has the skill level to ward off a professional boxer.
The fight is slated for an early afternoon start time in the U.S. on Sunday and will air on ESPN+ PPV. A co-main event featuring WBC cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu defending his title against Badou Jack will precede Paul vs. Fury.
MMASucka will have you covered with live results when the fight kicks off on Sunday afternoon.
Paul vs. Fury Preview
The ongoing Paul storyline has often outshone most of boxing’s biggest stories over the past two years, in spite of “The Problem Child” lining himself up to fight foes who have little to no pro boxing experience. That said, Paul’s resume actually compares favorably to most prospects at this point in their careers. While promising, young fighters will often compete against subpar athletes or broken-down veterans, Paul has (for the most part) tested himself against athletes who are no strangers to competing on the highest stage. His most recent win against former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva arguably to the public more about Paul’s boxing ability than any of his other fights, including his emphatic knockout of former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in their 2021 rematch.
That said, Paul’s critics seem to be as vocal as ever. After all, as elite of a competitor as “The Spider” Silva has shown himself to be, he is long past his athletic prime and will be turning 48 in two months. Critics have pointed to Paul being unable to stop Silva as a cause for concern going forward, though fight fans will get an answer on Sunday as to whether or not Fury, the younger brother boxing’s greatest heavyweight, Tyson Fury, will be the one to put the brash former Bizaardvark cast member in his place.
Fury’s roots may be in boxing, but the 23-year-old is no stranger to the spotlight in mainstream media himself. He met his girlfriend while competing on the British reality TV show, Love Island, and when factoring in his last name, Fury has had a considerably greater amount of fanfare around his career to date than most 8-0 fighters. All these factors, combined with the public outcry for Paul to finally square off against a legitimate boxer, have set these two on a collision course for quite some time. They also just happen to compete in the same weight class.
Sunday’s main event was originally scheduled to take place on Dec. 21, 2021, as the follow-up to Paul’s initial victory over Woodley earlier in the summer. However, an undisclosed injury would force Fury out of the fight, prompting Woodley to step in on short notice. On a pay-per-view with the tagline “Leave No Doubt,” Paul did exactly that when he knocked Woodley out in the sixth round. While Paul was at first dismissive of giving Fury another opportunity to face him, the rematch appeared to be set for August 2022, until travel issues forced Fury out of the fight for a second time. A fight-week circus involving Hasim Rahman Jr. ensued, and Paul ended up fighting Silva in his only fight of the year.
Nevertheless, the rematch is back on, and with Fury having appeared in the flesh at Thursday’s press conference, there is no reason to believe the fight will not finally take place.
Paul bettors can currently bet “The Problem Child” at around a -190 price tag, while Fury can be had at around +160. Given Fury’s size, boxing roots and family name, the odds may surprise most. However, Paul, who has fought two fewer professional fights than Fury, seems to have the higher quality victories. of the two. The two fighters do share the commonality of having fought an MMA fighter their last time out, but while Paul picked up a decision victory over Silva, Fury won a four-round decision over Anthony Taylor, a fighter with a .500 record across all combat sports.
Not only was Fury unable to put away Taylor, he began to slow down considerably by the end of the fight. However, as clunky and vulnerable as he may have looked, the younger Fury brother dominated his opponent, and no matter who gets their hand raised on Sunday, the loser will be flying back to their respective country having sustained their first professional loss. As a result, there should be a considerable amount of pressure on both athletes to perform this weekend. Fury has been dismissive of Paul’s boxing ability, and on Thursday told Stephen A. Smith in a face-to-face with Paul on First Take he does not believe that Paul actually believes he can defeat him.
Paul, meanwhile, has had plenty of ammunition to attack Fury with in the media, repeatedly calling him “unprofessional” in various media appearances. In addition to twice pulling out of scheduled fights with Paul, Fury no-showed a press conference in the weeks leading up to the fight, perhaps in an attempt to get inside his opponent’s head.
When the mind games do finally cease on Sunday afternoon, the matchup between the ropes could pave the way for one fighter to completely dominate the other. While Fury does pack a considerable amount of power inside his cruiserweight frame, Paul has proven he can he can go a full eight rounds, if necessary. Fury, meanwhile, has never been booked to fight more than six rounds, and has only ever reached the end of the fourth round in his career. How Fury might look if Paul can drag him into deep water will be worth monitoring, and Paul packs some power in his own right. He predicted a fourth-round knockout of his British foe at Thursday’s press conference, and such a result could come into play if Fury slows down like he has in previous fights. Meanwhile, the onus will be on Fury to test the chin of Paul early and often. A fast start will be crucial for the Brit, and anything else could result in one-way traffic from Paul.
If Paul is able to move his pro record to 7-0, he told Ariel Helwani on Wednesday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he plans to fill out his 2023 with fights against former UFC welterweight Nate Diaz this summer and JJ “KSI” Olatunji to close the year out. If such matchups come to fruition, it is entire possible Paul could close the year 9-0 in professional boxing. Meanwhlie, the WBC announced that Paul would find himself in the WBC rankings if he can defeat Fury. Paul has said he is striving to become a world champion in the sport of boxing, so if he can obtain and retain a spot in the rankings, business could pick up in 2024 as he seeks to make his goal a reality.
If Fury is able to defeat Paul, a rematch would likely be in the cards. While ego could certainly get in the way, the money in a rematch between Paul and Fury in the event of a Fury victory would likely merit too much money for Fury to raise his nose at. The potential of two wins over Paul must be tantalizing for Fury, and he would move his record to 10-0 in the process. From there, he may emerge as a legitimate prospect in the sport. Consecutive wins over someone of Paul’s notoriety would be just the thing for Tommy to step out of Tyson’s shadow and pen his own chapter in the sport.