Glendale, Arizona. –Jack Paul’s inexplicable boxing resume now includes defeating one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.
YouTube star-turned-boxer Paul defeated former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva by unanimous decision (77-74, 78-73, 78-73) Saturday night at the Desert Diamond Arena. The match was very competitive, but Paul pulled late and dropped Silva with his right hand in the eighth round to seal the victory.
Paul described beating Silva, a big fan of his childhood, as “surreal”.
“He was my idol growing up,” Paul said. “He inspired me to be great.”
For the 25-year-old social media expert Paul, it was the toughest game yet. Silva is 47 years old, but after leaving the UFC in 2020, his boxing performances have been outstanding, including defeating former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Paul (6-0) now has victories over three UFC fighters: Silva, former middleweight champion Tyron Woodley (two victories, including knockouts) and Ben Askren.
Afterward, Paul called out another UFC celebrity: Nate Diaz, who was on hand to support his teammate Chris Avila, who fought on the hole card. Diaz and his team, along with members of Paul’s team, got into an argument backstage earlier in the evening, with drinks flying in from both directions. Diaz became a free agent after fighting at UFC 279 last month.
“Nate Diaz, stop messing around and fight me,” Paul said.
Silva started strong with some old-fashioned “spider” moments, including giving up his hands in the second round and egging on Paul. Silva threw a lot of good combinations, but Paul took a lot on his glove.
The middle round was very tight and Silva got a short second wind. With Silva clearly tired, Paul shot in the final rounds. In the eighth game, Paul blocked Silva on the right and dropped him at the end of the combination.
“Jack was better than me today,” said Silva, now a 3-2 pro. “I have nothing to say to my opponent.”
Silva actually beat Paul 66-51 in power punches, but Paul threw 215 jabs, 140 more than Silva. Paul got 32 of those jabs and beat Silva 83-79 in total.
Judges Dennis O’Connell and Chris Wilson both scored 78-73 for Paul, and judge Paul Calderon scored 77-74 for Paul.
“I’m a superhero, but sometimes my half-man fails,” Silva said.
Paul and Silva agreed to bet at a news conference on Thursday. If Silva wins, Paul will rematch him in kickboxing. If Paul won, and he did, Silva would help Paul start an association of MMA fighters to help them get paid more and get better healthcare. Paul proposed that Silva would serve as the association’s interim president.
“Now we’re going to join forces to create a United Boxer Association to help UFC fighters, all MMA fighters and boxers get better pay and long-term health care,” Paul said. “It’s a tough task I’ve wanted to do since the beginning of my career.”
Paul’s foray into boxing doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Now, the polarizing boxer is on his record against a combat sports icon, albeit well past his prime.
“If I walk on water, people will say I can’t swim,” Paul said. “So there will always be haters, there will always be critics.”
The ultimate goal, Paul said, is to one day become a boxing world champion. He also called out Canelo Alvarez immediately after beating Silva.
“It definitely moves me in that direction,” Paul said. “[Silva] very tough. Hard as hell. This is just my good experience. Like I said, it’s only 2.5 years old. Who knows what I can accomplish? I know, but I’ll let you guys know. “
In a card bout, former UFC fighter Uriah Hall defeated former NFL star Le’Veon Bell by unanimous decision (40-36, 40-36, 40-36) in four rounds. Although Hall was a professional MMA fighter for 17 years, both made their professional boxing debuts.
“It’s the toughest sport in the world and I’ve given you a lot of support,” Hall said of Bale in the post-match interview. “I’m so proud of you, man…he absolutely surprised me. He’s amazing.”
Bell, 30, defeated former NFL running back Adrian Peterson in an exhibition game last month. Bell, an Ohio native, is a former All-Pro and Pro Bowl player for the Pittsburgh Steelers and other teams.
Hall, a 38-year-old Jamaican-born fighter who lives and trains in Dallas, is tied for the most knockouts with eight in UFC middleweight history. He retired from the UFC in August.
After his bout, Hall called Paul to a fight.
“I’m the guy who’s going to come out and expose him,” Hall said. “If Anderson didn’t do that, I’d be the one to fool you.”