Undercard Sizzles, Main Event Fizzles for Paul vs. Woodley

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Jake Paul
Jake Paul weighs in before his fight. Photo: Amanda Westcott/Showtime

There was some pretty entertaining boxing to be found Sunday night on the Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley card.

It just wasn’t Paul or Woodley doing it.

Early on, Montana Love picked up a huge win at home, in a barn burner with Ivan Baranchyk. A former IBF light-welterweight champ, Baranchyk had his moments in a fight filled with exciting exchanges. But come round seven, an uppercut dropped the Belarusian, who made it back to his feet with barely a second to spare. The ref would allow the fight to continue; Baranchyk’s corner would not, as they put an end to things between rounds. In turn giving Montana Love the TKO win in front of an appreciate Cleveland crowd.

Britain’s Daniel Dubois didn’t need seven rounds, or two, or even one full round to stop Joe Cusumano. The heavyweights were swinging hard out of the gate, and it was Dubois dropping Cusumano early. That scene would repeat itself twice more, and with three knockdowns within a round, the fight was soon history. Dubois improved to 18-1 with the win, in his first appearance on U.S. soil.

Going the distance in the co-feature of the Paul vs. Woodley card was Amanda Serrano. The boxer and occasional mixed martial artist remains one of the most successful female boxers of all time. She proved why once again on Sunday. While she couldn’t find the finish, Serrano went all the way with Yamileth Mercado, chasing the finish right up until the final bell.

Winning a unanimous decision, Serrano successfully defended her WBC, WBO, and IBO female featherweight titles.

And then there was the main event “attraction.” Jake Paul landed all of six punches in the opening round. Tyron Woodley? He threw just six punches in the first frame. Round two was slightly better for Woodley; while Paul, sporting a noticeable size advantage, landed more, Woodley cut off the ring well, and forced Paul to be on the defensive more than he had been in his previous forays in the ring.

With Paul never having left the second round, the third was bound to be interesting. Woodley fired a hook; Paul countered on the inside. He fired an uppercut, trailed it with a second punch, which Woodley appeared to brush off. Woodley would land a right hand at the bell, sending things to round four.

In round four, Jake Paul was rocked. After winning the first three rounds essentially due to Woodley’s inactivity, Paul was knocked into the ropes care of a Woodley right hand. Paul survived the round, but he was hurt. More to the point, he looked surprised. To his credit, Paul would soldier on in the fifth, even landing a left once or twice. A much closer round, it could easily have gone either way. For the first time in his short boxing “career” however, Paul was in a fight.

Round six was Paul’s, again with little activity from either man. Round seven, Woodley caught Paul with a left hand early. With neither man getting combinations going, they finished the round with Paul landing his right hand, Woodley answering with a left. A tired looking Paul essentially needed just to survive the final three minutes; he did, with Woodley throwing a few haymakers but coming up short.

In the end, the result was a split decision, with scores of 77-75 and 78-74 in favor of Paul. The dissenting judge ruled it 77-75 for Woodley.

At 15 years his elder, giving up size and reach, through numerous wars and competing in his first boxing match, Tyron Woodley was still Jake Paul’s biggest test to date. For the first time, Paul found himself in a fight. Going the distance, the Youtuber proved he had it in him to overcome adversity.

As positive as that may sound, however, the end result was a performance that doesn’t bode well for any future match-up with an actual boxer, or anyone close to Jake Paul’s own age/size. Tommy Fury? That bout doesn’t even feel competitive.

Maybe Jake Paul knows that, suggesting following the bout that he’d be taking some time off after the fight to find himself.

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