GLENDALE – YouTube star and undefeated boxer Jake Paul appeared at Gila River Arena Tuesday showing a different, rare side of his exuberant personality.
Sitting beside UFC legend Anderson Silva ahead of their bout on Oct. 29, Paul elected not to take any verbal jabs at his opponent — a hard pivot from his previous pre-fight press conferences. Instead, the pro boxer exposed a soft spot seldomly seen in public when asked about the magnitude and meaning of his upcoming match.
“This fight is about respect for the first time and you know, hopefully when I knock him out, I help him get off the canvas,” Paul said.
Paul (5-0) and Silva (3-1) couldn’t be any further apart from where they stand in their respective boxing careers. Silva is 47 years old, while Paul is 25 years old. An age gap of this magnitude would scare off most boxers, but not Silva.
“I think age is but a number,” Silva said. “I think my experience is going to help me a lot to do my job inside the ring.”
Paul is working his way up in the boxing world and sits in dire need of a statement win after making his amateur boxing debut in August of 2018, while Silva has experienced everything humanly possible in combat sports but wants to continue fighting against the next generation of boxers. Silva fought in the UFC from 2006 to 2020 and holds the longest title reign in the promotion’s history with wins in 16 consecutive bouts.
The winner could have a lasting impact on the landscape of boxing for years.
“This could be a changing of the guard,” Paul said. “Or (Silva) could win and silence the kid that everyone wants to be silenced.”
There’s no doubt that Arizona will reap the rewards of the marquee match at Gila River Arena, from revenue gains to growing the culture of boxing in the state and establishing credibility for future blockbuster fights.
From 2018 to 2022, Arizona hosted four UFC events including two at Gila River Arena. The rise of UFC has brought new excitement for both MMA and boxing to the state.
“I’ve been to Arizona more times in the last couple of years I think than I have in my entire life because of the UFC coming here and I think that shows you that this is a marketplace that’s starting to build,” said Oscar Willis, the content manager at TheMacLife.com. “I think when you have a smaller market here that doesn’t traditionally get these sorts of events, it means that when they finally do come, you get a boom. It’s a new way to make revenue by going into smaller towns that don’t have these things traditionally.”
With the fight rapidly approaching, one thing is certain: The people of Arizona will be treated to the ultimate boxing show.
“I’m so excited to fight here because I have a lot of fans here,” Silva said. “ I think it is good for the city. It’s so special. I’m so happy to bring a good and special show to the city.”