GLENDALE, Arizona – Combat sports has a long history of older fighters being fed to the next young lion on the rise. In just his sixth pro fight, Jake Paul did his best to make sure youth was served on Saturday night against MMA legend Anderson Silva.
Paul (6-0, 4 KOs), the 25-year-old social media influencer turned boxer, rallied for a knockdown in the final round to cement an eight-round unanimous decision in the main event of a Showtime PPV card from Desert Diamond Arena. Paul took home scores of 77-74 and 78-73 (twice) against the 47-year-old Silva, the former UFC middleweight champion.
“It’s a surreal moment. Hard work pays off,” Paul said. “I want to say thank you to Anderson. He was my idol growing up and he inspired me to be great. Without him, we wouldn’t have a fight this year. He’s a tough mofo, like for real. I have a lot of respect for him.”
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Paul has long been criticized during his surprising turn to pugilism for not fighting a real boxer. He tried twice to close 2021 but scheduled fights against Tommy Fury and Hasim Rahman Jr. fell apart. A fight with Silva (3-2, 2 KOs in boxing), an opponent many critics Paul said would never fight, suddenly came together, fueled by Silva’s 2021 upset of former middleweight titleholder Julio Caesar Chavez Jr.
Silva, a native of Brazil, was game throughout and appeared to possibly steal a few close rounds by rallying to back Paul up in the final 30 seconds with power shots. But the size and youth of Paul ultimately won out as Silva was forced to largely fight in spots due to his age.
“I worked hard to do a special show for everybody here,” Silva said. “I say thank you for everyone to come. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but I continue training hard because I was born for this.”
Paul outlanded Silva, 83 to 79, according to CompuBox. He floored Silva in Round 8 with a counter right hand and landed 42 percent of his power shots overall (included a 30 to 13 edge to the body.
Paul embraced Silva after the fight with the Brazilian legend telling him, “Nobody can talk about you, trust me. Nobody can talk about you.”
The performance was largely a mature one from Paul, who showed legitimate improvement from his last performance, a late knockout of former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in their rematch in late 2021.
Controlling much of the second half of the fight with three-punch combinations that began to the body and finished with right crosses upstairs, Paul continued to show what time and dedication can do.
“If I was walking on water, people would say I can’t swim. There’s always going to be haters but I don’t worry about that shit,” Paul said. “This just goes to show, even if you are 47, chase your dreams. It’s not too late. I’m obsessed with this and I go so hard every single day. If you work your ass off, you can accomplish your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.
“[Silva] took so many hard shots throughout the whole fight. Dude was a dog. He was the toughest guy but I just wanted it more.”
After the win, Paul turned his attention to calling out Nate Diaz, who is set to be a free agent following the expiration of his UFC deal, and boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez. The Diaz fight is much more realistic and seeds have already been planted as members of Paul and Diaz’s team engaged in a scuffle backstage shortly after Diaz’s teammate, Chris Avila, scored a victory to open the PPV card.
“Nate Diaz is a bitch. He tried to fight me in my locker room and then left the arena,” Paul said. “So Nate Diaz, don’t be a bitch. Come fight me.
“Anyone, anytime, any place. Anyone! Anytime! Any place!”
CBS Sports was with you throughout the entire way on Saturday, so be sure to follow along with the live results and highlights below.
Fight card, results
Paul vs Silva scorecard, live coverage
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