Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley, as well as their respective camps, didn’t wait until August 29 to let their feelings about each other be known. In fact, those heightened emotions nearly resulted in a big physical altercation just days before their Showtime-produced pay-per-view.
At the final press conference in downtown Cleveland on August 26, both Paul and Woodley did not mince words about each other, from Paul wanting to turn Woodley into his latest knockout meme to Woodley calling Paul a clown.
Harlequin-related comments aside, Woodley isn’t treating this upcoming bout against Paul like it’s the circus, coming into the press conference with an intensity like he was fighting for a UFC title.
“I think in general, in combat sports, you see someone do something and it looks cool and then people are starting to replicate it. The thing about this fight is that it is a fight. It’s not YouTuber versus TikTok’er versus this versus that. It’s a real fight. If you look at it, it’s a fight. Some people before were brainwashed and tricked into taking it lightly and I feel like that’s why they came up short. Even before we signed [for the fight], I was running. It was always a fight. For me to be able to have the fun again and passion behind it made it great. I feel like this fight is the first one of its kind in this sizzle in the entertainment aspect of combat sports that is a real fucking fight,” Woodley told Fight Game Media during the Showtime-streamed press conference.
The intensity spilled over to their separate teams, where a brawl nearly occurred and Woodley was livid over someone from Paul’s team allegedly yelling at Woodley’s mother.
After the press conference ended, people from both Jake Paul’s and Tyron Woodley’s camps went at it and it almost was a very physcial altercation. Luckily, nothing came off it. pic.twitter.com/u5PWYr8jzK
— Carlos Toro (@CarlosToroMedia) August 26, 2021
Right at the center of it all for Showtime is Stephen Espinoza. Espinoza, the president of Showtime Sports, is no stranger to helping put together boxing fights featuring boxers and MMA stars. He was one of the key figures for Showtime for the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor fight in 2018. Plus, Showtime featured Logan Paul, Jake’s brother, in a pay-per-view exhibition bout against Mayweather earlier this year.
The chaos that occurred at the end of the Paul vs. Woodley press conference is not something new, or out of place, for Espinoza.
“Tempers are short. People are cutting weight, there’s a lot on the line. There’s egos and this is the purest form of competition and sometimes it boils over. At the end of the day, emotions are running high,” Espinoza told Fight Game Media shortly after the press conference.
Such a commotion is not exactly rare in combat sports, especially when it comes to the Paul brothers. Just earlier this year, Jake took Mayweather’s hat in Miami during a press conference event promoting Mayweather’s exhibition against Logan. That almost led to yet another ugly brawl that never happened. Still, some may look at incidents like these as a point against involving celebrities and social media influencers stepping into the ring as boxers. Espinoza doesn’t mind, and even applauds Jake’s commitment to the sport and believes that boxing pundits will come around as well when it comes to this sub-genre of boxing.
“The Mayweather vs. Logan Paul fight is kind of its own category and if he says he wants to go back for an exhibition, we’re there, we’re ready to go. The thing with Jake is that there is a lot of activity and I don’t begrudge him or any of it. I don’t even mind the YouTube vs. TikTok fights. As long as they respect the sport and they’re doing it safely, I got no problem with it. At a certain level, it becomes, ‘Who do we jump in business with?’ Jake was an easy call. We saw the three events that he did. Obviously he’s got a huge fanbase, does a lot of business. But more importantly for us, it was the commitment to growing the sport. Once we started the conversation and heard first-hand how much he respects the sport and how much he decides to grow it and his plans to grow it, then overall, even the most hardcore of purists will find that this is something that will be good for the sport,” Espinoza said.
On the undercard of the August 29 pay-per-view, Tommy Fury, brother of WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury, will be in action in his U.S. debut. Tommy and Jake have been at odds with each other for months and a fight between the two seems almost inevitable if they each emerge victorious. It’s a fight that Espinoza is looking at for the future, but not something that is a 100 percent guarantee.
“That’s definitely a possibility, but not a foregone conclusion. That’s something that Jake has definitely discussed. In terms of long term, the social media, our support, it only takes you so far. At the end of the day, [Jake] is going to go as far as his talent takes him. That’s the great thing about boxing. At the end of the day, you settle it inside the ring and it speaks for himself. If Jake continues to improve himself, take bigger challenges and successfully beat them, the sky is the limit.
Fight Game Media will have further coverage of Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley, taking place on August 29 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. You can check out Fight Game Media’s interview with Espinoza below.