Like it or not, dear boxing fans, but the main event this Sunday evening in Saudi Arabia will not be the legit, WBC world title fight between defending cruiserweight champ Ilunga Makabu and challenger and former 168 and 175 pound belt holder Badou Jack. It will instead be the 185 pound catch-weight affair between YouTuber Jake Paul and novice boxer Tommy Fury.
I don’t know about you, but here in the UK, people on the street, in the pubs and the bars, at work, are talking and talking about Paul Vs. Fury. It’s big. Very big. We hardcore boxing fans, call us purists if you wish, may not like it too much, but these type of, what shall we call them – novelty fights? Are big business. They appeal to non-boxing fans the way the real fights do not. I know, go figure. Why would you not want to see two seasoned pros going at it, with all the skills and thrills to be enjoyed? Why would you instead want to fork out your hard-earned cash to see two guys like Paul and Fury go at it?
But again, Paul-Fury is big, it has generated a ton of publicity, and the PPV numbers promise to be nothing short of massive (much bigger than those the Floyd Mayweather-Aaron Chalmers exhibition bout from the previous night will pull in, anyway, but that’s a different story). So, will you be buying the card (£19.95 on BT Sport in the UK)? If you are, there is a pretty good chance you will be doing so, aside from you having been pulled in due to curiosity over the main event (guilty), but because of the aforementioned WBC cruiserweight title fight between the almost always exciting Makabu and the equally entertaining Jack.
This fight would of course have been the main event some years back, before the sport we still love changed so much; with exhibitions and novelty fights proving more attractive to so many more folks these days. And Jack, speaking with The Sun, said his fight “is the real main event,” pointing out how “people who know boxing know that.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Jack, 27-3-3(16) is an old-school warrior who has earned all that has come his way. The fight with Makabu, 29-2(25), who has also worked hard to get where he’s at, could well be Jack’s last chance at the big time. Jack, like plenty of us, was alarmed to hear how the WBC will grant Paul a world ranking should he get past Fury on Sunday. That said, Jack, looking on the positive side of things, says he is “not mad” about the attention the Paul-Fury fight has got, saying how that fight might “get me some news fans from their audience.”
“Come on, it’s different levels. I think he’ll get ranked in the top 50, I don’t think he’ll get ranked to fight for a world title,” 39 year old Jack said of Paul. “I’m the real main event anyway. People who know boxing know that. But no, I’m not mad. I’m just happy for this opportunity. It’s a new era of boxing, the social media era.”
That it is, like it or not.
Hopefully, after their long back-and-forth, Paul and Fury will put on a fight worthy of the attention it has generated. But you, dear boxing fan, will really be tuning in for the world title fight, with the thought being that the Paul-Fury fight might be an added bonus of sorts. You will be, won’t you! And Makabu-Jack could be a real slugfest. Both guys are getting pretty long in the tooth and neither guy is too hard to hit. Also, both cruisers have a ton of heart, and they can punch.
Pick: Makabu gets off the floor to pound out a decision win over Jack in a fight that leaves us boxing fans who paid to watch feeling pleased we did so.