By Jeff Zimmerman at ringside
“The Problem Child” Jake Paul (7-1, 4 KOs) defeated MMA superstar Nate Diaz (0-1) by unanimous decision in a bout fought at a 185lb catchweight in the main event at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
The scores read 97-92, 98-91 twice.
In the opening round of this much anticipated showdown, Pual landed a left hook to head and right to body to put Diaz on the ropes. Diaz held on as his right eye began to redden.
Diaz found success in round two as he landed inside with left and right hooks. Paul countered with shots to the head and body. Diaz scores with a straight left to open round three as Paul came back and is started to find his mark.
In round four, both had their moments landing uppercuts and body shots. Diaz snapped Paul’s head back midway through the round after a small flurry of punches.
Paul landed a left hook to the temple and dropped Diaz in round five. Paul attacked Diaz and landed more shots and was clearly going for the KO, but Diaz stood his ground.
In round six and seven, Paul and Diaz took turns landing shots before Diaz came on strong in the seventh and eighth round with patented left uppercut on the inside. Round eight was Diaz best round of the fight. Paul closed the fight with a solid round ten.
Post fight in the ring with Ariel Helwani:
Jake Paul: All credit to my team and my conditioning beating a UFC legend. I watched him on TV as a kid. I want to run it back in MMA.
Nate Diaz: I’ll fight him in MMA – I’ll get a single leg and choke him out. I’ll fight anybody, I don’t give a f**k.
The polarizing Paul has turned the combat sports world upside down. First, the Disney kid turned YouTube sensation trolled UFC President Dana White to grab headlines and spark interest with his millions of social media followers and then took up professional boxing and then won his first six fights – four of which included former UFC and MMA stars Ben Askren, Tyron Woodley (twice) and the legendary Anderson Silva.
The knock on Paul, however, was he never faced a “real” boxer until he faced Tommy Fury, the half brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Paul lost a split decision in February this year.
With Diaz, Paul, went back to the MMA well against the controversial UFC star, who has shared the Octagon with a who’s who of martial artists including Conor McGregor (twice), Anthony Pettis, Jorge Masvidal, Donald Cerrone, Tony Ferguson and Leon Edwards.
Paul has stated going into this fight that a rematch with Fury is imminent and from there is anyone’s guess.
Paul is clearly an entertainer and feeds off the energy around him. He had stated he was unhappy by the lack of trash talk heading into Fight Week, but it surely picked up in Dallas, and after an intense verbal exchange during the final press conference, a brawl erupted on stage between the camps. Both sides were quickly separated before it could get ugly.
Paul is taking the boxing game seriously. He has a world class team around him that includes former world-class fighter J’Leon Love plus added HOFer “Sugar” Shane Mosley back to the fold. Mosley was with Paul in his first camp. Paul also hired Strength and Conditioning Coach Larry Wade. Wade has worked with the likes of world champs Badou Jack, Shawn Porter and Caleb Plant.
Wade recalls his first meeting with Paul, when Paul told him he wanted to become a world champion.
“He said to me he wanted to be a world champion. When he said that initially, I took a step back. This guy’s telling me I want to be a world champion. I thought to myself, why not, let’s go for it. And that made me even more excited to work with him, because he wants to become a world champion, which means he’s willing to put forth this effort. I have worked with a lot of them. Let’s get to the bread, let’s get to the win, let’s get to the belt. Let’s make it happen baby.”