Although Jake Paul has predominantly focussed on his professional boxing career, his former internet accolades seemingly played a significant role in establishing his newly crowned title.
Jake Paul named 2021's "Breakout Boxer"
Sports Illustrated writer Chris Mannix said that Jake Paul was not labelled "Breakout Boxer" of 2021 for his potential, but instead "for what he already is." Despite having fought only five times, the "lightning rod" YouTube star has "elevated the sport while skipping its outdated ladder to success."
Having marshalled a social media following of over 20 million YouTube subscribers and a combined following of more than 30 million fans across TikTok and Instagram, Mannix says that Jake Paul has created "an army of boxing fans that never existed."
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"Moreover, Paul is elevating boxing. Not through his fights, but through the visibility traditional boxers showcased on his cards receive," noted Mannix.
For example, after featuring on the undercard of Jake Paul's fight against Tyron Woodly, it was noted that "unheralded junior welterweight" Montana Love earned a multi-fight deal with Matchroom.
Moreover, this extends to boxers fighting on the undercard, such as Amanda Serrano, who made a significant boost in her Q-rating and bank account.
Jake Paul reflects on winning Breakout Boxer of the Year
Shortly after earning the title of Sports Illustrated's "Breakout Boxer of the Year," Jake Paul issued a response on Twitter reflecting on his win. The internet star noted that he was "overwhelmed with many emotions" and felt a "deep feeling of gratitude."
"Less than two years ago, I made my professional debut after having one amateur fight that lasted five rounds, and now today, I won Sports Illustrated Breakout Boxer of the year. Wow," said Jake.
The star continued, explaining how he has fallen in love with the sport and has decided to dedicate his entire life to it. "People laugh in my face and talked sh*t [...] they told me I couldn't become a real boxer because I was a 'YouTuber' and that nobody would take me seriously. I laughed right back."
Despite the doubt, Jake Paul proved the naysayers wrong and aims to change the current meta of boxing, citing awareness for women's boxing, pushing for fair pay for fighters, helping kids through the "Boxing for Bullies" foundation and growing the love of boxing among young people.
Jake Paul concluded by saying, "I challenge everyone reading this to make goals that scare you and to work relentlessly (sic) until you accomplish them. Don't listen to the critics and the people who try to stop you. Nothing worth doing will be easy."
Indeed, Jake Paul is bemoaned by boxers and fans alike following his string of past controversies; however, it seems as though the haters will have to get used to it because the internet icon is not going anywhere just yet.
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Featured image courtesy of Kim Klement / USA Today Sports.