Jake Paul says he wants to go down as a 'legend' of boxing
'Mike Tyson said I'm like a goat...'
Jake Paul wants to be regarded as a "legend" of boxing and believes he will go down in the history books as someone who "changed the sport forever".
He even claims Mike Tyson already believes it, saying Iron Mike thinks he's a "goat". Well, sort of.
The divisive social media star has become one of the biggest names in boxing since making his debut just under two years ago and is so far undefeated. The 24-year-old has dispatched with fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib, ex-NBA star Nate Robinson, former UFC fighter Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley - who he faces for a second time on Saturday.
Since his first fight, Paul's name has anchored endless stories, he's built his own promotional business and headlined major pay-per-view events; facts that leave a bitter taste in the mouth of many diehard boxing fans and fighters alike.
"I think people want to see my nudes," Paul told JOE, explaining why he has become so popular.
"I mean, who wants to see Tyson Fury's nudes? I talk a lot of s***, I create a lot of content.
"I'm just built different. That's why my searches are so high."
For the detractors, an obnoxious YouTuber has jumped the queue and stolen primetime TV slots from more deserving pros.
Former super-middleweight world champion Carl Froch, for instance, said he would consider coming out of retirement just to smash Jake and his brother Logan Paul "to bits".
If success in boxing was purely down to hours spent pounding the punchbag, then perhaps Paul's opponents would have a point.
But it's not. Boxing is entertainment and a fighter's charisma and their ability to sell tickets are equally important. And Paul is a master of that.
"Men lie, women lie, numbers don't," Paul explained.
"Whatever people want to say about me, it's all hearsay because when you boil down to a core what I'm doing, it's changing the game."
Tommy Fury was Paul's original opponent for the December 18 clash but pulled out due to injury. Ironically, he made the strongest case yet for social media stars' inclusion in boxing when defending his own decision to appear on Love Island.
Fury said, "The one thing you've got to do in this game, you can box as good as you want, you can be the best fighter out there, but if you can't sell tickets and nobody's interested in you, you're not going to go very far."
None of Paul's four professional fights have involved a traditional boxer, and this has made him an easy target for critics. But the 24-year-old has far loftier ambitions than his resumé would suggest.
He wants to face Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, widely regarded as the greatest boxer alive. What's more, he thinks he can take the fight in the next three years and cause the Mexican "real damage".
— JOE (@JOE_co_uk) December 13, 2021
"I think the level that I will be at will be undeniable. My skill level will be at a place where I can make that a serious fight," Paul predicted.
"I am not just gonna go in there and rollover. I know it's gonna be hard, I know he [Canelo] is the pound-for-pound number one."
Paul added: "I know he is moving up to cruiserweight. So he is playing right into this s*** already. I think I can do some real damage to him - even more so than some of the guys he previously fought."
In terms of his lasting legacy, Paul wants to go down as a "legend" of the sport.
"When you say someone's name that's like a legend... You get a feeling, you picture something in your head. You almost get a judgment of who these people are, what they did, and how crazy it all was.
"It's hard to summarise, but I guess I just want the feeling of, when people say my name years from now, they're just like... 'Phew, respect. That person changed the sport forever.'
"I guess that's what I'm working for."
For Paul, Mike Tyson is a figure who instantly conjures up notions of awe and respect.
"For me, it's on a deeper level because of getting to spend time with him [Tyson] and seeing how his brain operates. He's so wise.
"Who he is off-camera is just an amazing human being."
Paul said Tyson gave him helpful advice at a time when no other boxing icon would.
"He said, 'Look man, you live your life the way you want to live it. No one can tell you no. Don't let any of the distractions get in the way'.
"We both have the same birthday, as well as Muhammad Ali, and when I told him that he said, 'Man, I feel that from you! I feel that energy, I knew it! I knew you were special!'"
Iron Mike is a big believer in astrology which Paul said also seeped into his words of advice.
"He was talking to me a lot about that and how I'm like a goat, then he was talking to me about goats, how they are and how they act in the wild."
Jake Paul has his sights set on a second victory over Woodley but is keeping his feet firmly on the ground when it comes to potentially challenging for titles.
"I want to fight a real boxer and then maybe answer that question," he said.
"I've sparred real boxers hundreds of times in the gym, but sometimes MMA fighters are even harder to fight than professional boxers because of their unorthodox style.
"For me right now, it's about delivering big fights and working on my skill so that later on down the line, if I wanna make a world title shot, I'll have more experience under my belt."
Watch the full interview below: