Terence Crawford: Jake Paul ‘definitely became a professional in this sport,’ but wants to see him face a real boxer

Terence Crawford: Jake Paul ‘definitely became a professional in this sport,’ but wants to see him face a real boxer

In the age of influencer boxing, Terence Crawford isn’t hating, especially not on Jake Paul.

With a 38-0 record and numerous world championships across three weight divisions in boxing, Crawford is universally considered one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the sport. So given his accolades, some might think the rise of influencer boxing in recent years might draw his ire, as it has done with so many in the world of boxing. They would be wrong.

“I can’t knock the next man for putting food on his family’s table,” Crawford told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “It’s entertainment at the end of the day. They’re just going in there to entertain the fans, and if the fans are going to pay them to entertain them, so be it.

“I’ll watch the real fighters. Not saying these guys aren’t real fighters, because these guys get in the ring and put their life on the line, just like any other fighter does. They’ve been doing it for a number of years, but at the same time, it’s a different skill set and different skill level.”

Influencer boxing rose to prominence the past few years in large part due to Jake Paul. Originally a YouTuber and Disney Channel star, Paul pivoted to a boxing career after finding success against fellow YouTubers in white-collar boxing matches.

From there, Paul became the most recognizable face in influencer boxing by targeting bouts with former MMA champions. Most recently, he defeated former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva by unanimous decision, proving to many that the former YouTuber is not to be taken lightly in the squared circle. Crawford, at least, believes that Paul has earned some respect.

“When you look at Jake Paul, he’s been training for years,” Crawford said. “He’s been fighting without head gear and fighting in the back of his yard. Jake Paul definitely became a professional in this sport. I just want to see him actually fight a real fighter, At this point in time. Any real boxer. Not an MMA fighter that you’re bigger than. Somebody your weight. Get him a real fight. Test him out. Not somebody in the top-10, just a real fighter that we can say, ‘OK, Jake, you fought such and such, he was ranked 15,’ or something, and we can gauge from there.”

While a ranked opponent is probably not in the near future for Paul at this point, another professional boxer does seem to be next in line, as Paul and Tommy Fury, brother of heavyweight great Tyson Fury, look to finally be ready to settle their differences sometime next year. Crawford, meanwhile, defends his WBO welterweight title against David Avanesyan on Dec. 10 in Omaha, Neb.

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