One thing is certain after Saturday's Triller Fight Club event: Love or hate him, Jake Paul the boxer is here to stay.
Paul defeated former UFC fighter Ben Askren by first-round TKO in their highly anticipated boxing match that headlined the Triller pay-per-view card at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The YouTube star is now 3-0 as a professional boxer, and this victory will lift his budding career to new heights.
Though widely viewed as a spectacle fight pitting a non-fighter against an elite wrestler with limited stand-up ability, Paul-Askren was all the rage in the combat sports world, even with notable MMA and boxing action scheduled for the same day. It had the feeling of a major UFC or boxing pay-per-view, and the star-studded lineup of musical guests took the show to another level (in good and bad ways).
The buzz around Paul will only grow after he beat an opponent who actually has credibility in combat sports, unlike his first two adversaries in Ali Eson Gib and Nate Robinson. Askren is a former UFC contender who racked up a 19-2 MMA record over 10 years of competition. He was considered a step up for Paul, who entered with a 2-0 pro record but had yet to fight anyone with prior combat sports experience. Paul passed the test with flying colors.
To be clear, this win doesn't mean Paul suddenly has the potential to go far in the sport or be a serious contender. The quick end to the fight and Askren's limited stand-up ability meant we didn't learn too much about Paul or his skill set. The internet personality is only 24, so he'll likely improve at a rapid pace, assuming he continues to train hard. But it's impossible to draw any real conclusions about his ceiling from this fight, so Paul should still be cautious in choosing his next opponent.
That said, it doesn't matter if Paul ever becomes a legitimate boxer or simply sticks to knocking out fellow YouTubers until moving on to a new venture. He hasn't indicated any desire to take the traditional route of climbing the boxing ladder. Paul is in it for the spectacle, the money, and the fame - and who can blame him? If he's just looking to build his brand and doesn't necessarily want to become a championship-caliber boxer, he's doing a damn good job so far.
People within and beyond the combat sports world are talking about Paul, and many fighters want to square off with him. Conor McGregor's training partner and Bellator fighter Dillon Danis has already challenged Paul to a boxing match, and it appears several other MMA fighters would love to get their hands on him. This is exactly what Paul wanted. The more fighters call him out, the more buzz there is to see him fight, and the more money he makes. It's that simple.
The Jake Paul business is shaping up to be quite lucrative. And while Saturday's victory didn't come close to legitimizing Paul as a boxer - and maybe nothing will - it did make it very clear that his career in the ring is just beginning. You might not like it, but you better get used to it. Because we're going to be seeing a lot more of "The Problem Child."