Jake Paul has been told by Showtime Boxing boss Stephen Espinoza that his market would be severely limited if it weren't for poor conditions in MMA.
The YouTuber-turned-boxer has become one of the biggest names in combat sport after racking up a 5-0 professional record which includes knockout wins over former MMA world champions Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley. And Espinoza believes that if he weren't offering career-high purses to the likes of Askren and Woodley, there would be less appetite for him to make his big fights.
The social media star has become an advocate for improving fighter pay in the UFC and broader combat sports, and has made multiple investments to make that happen, including in the promotion's parent company Endeavor. He has also pushed through the biggest women's boxing match in history by working with Amanda Serrano to get her a bout with Katie Taylor next month.
And Espinoza believes that there wouldn't be as much room for Paul's growth in the sport if it weren't for the conditions MMA fighters find themselves working under. He told Morning Kombat : "I don't think that there is a market if the financial upside wasn't so attractive.
"I think part of it is that people underestimate Jake, they think it's easy and say 'look I've been a combat sports veteran for 15 years, this guy took up boxing a few years ago, this is the easiest couple million I'll ever make'. So that's part of it, but you also have to look at the calculus.
"You get a fighter who's saying 'yeah, I'm retired, or semi-retired but if I can put together one more camp I can make a multiple of what I made for my last six fights in UFC combined'.
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"That's pretty attractive, and I think if there was a different pay structure that probably doesn't have the appeal that it does now."
Paul is currently plotting his return to the ring after heading back to his Puerto Rican training base following an extended absence from training camp. He fought four times in 13 months from November 2020 to December of last year, all of which were on major pay-per-view events.
And he is now looking towards his next options in the ring, with Tommy Fury, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Nate Diaz all potential opponents for his summer comeback. He is currently focusing on co-promoting the Taylor vs Serrano fight with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing, but expects to box again within the months following that event.