When Chad Dawson was first called on as Jake Paul’s training partner, he was skeptical. Dawson is a fighter’s fighter. He was once a mainstay on pound-for-pound lists, had two stints as light heavyweight champion, fought the best of his era, and has two wins apiece over Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver, and singles wins over Bernard. Hopkins, Tomasz Adamek and Eric. Harding, among others.
He was vaguely aware of what social media star Paul was doing in boxing because it was getting so much attention, but Dawson had some concerns.
“When I got the call to come work with him, I was a little unsure,” Dawson told Yahoo Sports. “I didn’t know if it was just a publicity stunt, and when I thought about it, I was like, ‘Ah, I don’t know.’ But I have to admit I was curious.”
This curiosity quickly turned into respect. Dawson said Paul was much better than he imagined.
And as Paul prepares for the toughest challenge of his budding boxing career on Saturday when he meets UFC legend Anderson Silva in the main event of a Showtime pay-per-view at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale. , Arizona, Dawson became a believer.
“I was impressed,” Dawson said. “I was very impressed and shocked with his work ethic and general knowledge of the ring. He moves like he’s been boxing for over two or three years. And he’s also a thinker.”
He will have to think long and hard against Silva, the former UFC champion who held the promotion’s middleweight belt for more than six years while building a reputation as one of MMA’s greatest fighters. all the time. Paul has never fought a boxer, nor an MMA fighter who was primarily a striker.
He will finally get that experience when he meets Silva, who after leaving the UFC turned to boxing. In 2021, Silva defeated former boxing middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and then former MMA champion Tito Ortiz to improve his boxing mark to 3-1.
Silva has hardly proven himself as a boxer. Before meeting a badly faded, washed-out version of Chavez last year, he hadn’t boxed since 2005. And a washed-out Chavez represents light years away from the best opposition Silva has faced as a boxer. Paul is a 2-1 favorite at BetMGM, with Silva at +165. This may have been because of reports that Silva was knocked out twice in combat, which he denied.
Silva vows to win, but insists Paul is a serious boxer. Silva is also trying to make a statement, urging others to keep trying despite grim circumstances. If he wins at 47 over a 25-year-old player, it will be proof of what he says, that anything is possible.
“Every fight is very special, and every fight is special for the fans,” Silva told Yahoo Sports. “And I respect Jake because he does a lot of work to open the box and the mind for everyone to think anything is possible. I respect Jake a lot and try to do my best. I try to do my best. I don’t think nothing’s wrong. I do something very special every day, working hard to do my best for my fans, you know? And I respect Paul a lot. And let’s do the best show for the fans.
During the media tour for the promotion, a photo surfaced of brothers Paul, Logan and Jake meeting Silva when Silva was at the height of his UFC career. Paul admitted he was a big Silva fan for a long time.
But he said in an open training session in Glendale, Ariz., on Wednesday — where he arrived on horseback — that he wouldn’t let his fandom influence how he approaches the fight.
“I have the Mamba mentality,” Paul said of the late NBA superstar Kobe Bryant’s mindset. “Kobe knocked down Pau Gasol, his own teammate with the Lakers, when he was with Team Redeem at the Olympics. I have the same kind of drive with me, that killer instinct.”
But BJ Flores, Paul’s trainer, thinks he’s been seriously overlooked because of the way he got into boxing and fought non-traditional opponents.
Flores started working with Paul as a sparring partner in 2019 when Paul was preparing for a fight with Ali Eson Gib. Hall of Famer Shane Mosley was coaching Paul at the time and when Mosley left camp for a few days, Flores took over. Like Dawson, Flores said he was shocked by Paul’s talent.
And he said that Paul kept getting better. Flores called on veteran trainer Danny Smith to help guide Paul’s career and said Paul’s ability will be evident when he fights Silva. If Paul wasn’t a celebrity before coming to boxing, Flores said he would still live up to his potential.
“I would say he’s a prospect and someone to watch,” Flores said. “No matter how long he’s been boxing, the one thing you really have to respect that he has that very few people have is real punching power. It’s a thing like I said that few anyone who’s been to camp… [ex-cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham]Chad Dawson, Richard Rivera, who probably just beat Badou Jack…every person who’s been in camp with him and fought with him says this kid has real, real power.
“He’s someone to watch regardless of skill level. And you’re going to see a much improved skill level on [Saturday]. One thing you have to do with Jake is really be aware of both your hands. People have seen the right hand, but the left hand is also strong and developed. Everyone says the same thing: “He can really, really hit. “
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