Youtube superstar Jake Paul maintained his unbeaten boxing record last night in Cleveland with a split decision victory over former UFC star Tyron Woodley.
There had been a sense pre-fight that Paul’s camp had specifically targeted Woodley to box because the MMA fighter had become gun-shy in the latter stages of his career, and even as welterweight champion had a habit of not letting his hands go, despite carrying knockout power.
With that in mind there was a sense of deja-vu for MMA fans watching the early rounds of this fight as Woodley found himself being outworked by Paul, who certainly wasn’t overawed by the occasion and was working to the body and the head, albeit without rarely getting through Woodley’s high-guard upstairs.
Nonetheless, by the fourth round Paul seemed to be building up a comfortable lead on points, but then Woodley did start to find a home for a few clean punches, and stepping into a big overhand right he landed flush and sent ‘The Problem Child’ reeling backwards, with only the middle rope preventing him from being floored.
However, while Woodley visibly gained confidence from what would prove to be the most hurtful blow of the night, he didn’t seize the momentum by picking up his work rate and really testing the less experienced combat sport’s fighter’s mettle when the chips were down, instead giving him valuable time to regain his composure and as the minutes ticked by also partially regain his confidence too.
Woodley continued to land the bigger punches when he did let his hands go, but not with the frequency required to warm up the scorecards in his favor, while though Paul appeared the more tired of the two and his technique was becoming less disciplined, Paul was still trying to put punches together and his work to the body helped him maintain a higher output.
So, in the end the fight went to the scorecards, and while Paul never really troubled Woodley with many significant strikes, there was a general feeling that he’d done enough to win by decision, and that’s how it played out, although it was closer than anticipated, with one judge giving Woodley the nod, leading to Paul only winning by split decision (77-75, 75-77, 78-74).