Jake Paul’s young boxing career has been a calculated spectacle.
Paul, the social media influencer turned fighter, has carefully made a path for himself that has generated widespread interest and attention, no matter his skills, no matter his opponent.
Since turning to boxing a couple years ago, Paul, 24, holds an undefeated four-bout résumé made up of wins against a fellow YouTuber, a retired N.B.A. player and two former mixed martial artists.
The next act in Paul’s show will be a rematch of his August fight against Tyron Woodley, a former welterweight champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship whom Paul defeated by split decision. Paul and Woodley will meet on Saturday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., as a part of Paul’s multifight deal with Showtime Sports, which will sell the eight-round bout on pay-per-view for $59.99. The fight will be contested at a 192-pound catchweight.
The co-main event will feature the Puerto Rican boxer Amanda Serrano, a seven division world champion, who will face the World Boxing Association’s 135-pound titleholder Miriam Gutiérrez in a 10-round lightweight bout.
After building his name in boxing through brash trash talking and gimmicks not unlike those he used to generate likes, comments and followers, Paul sought legitimacy when he and Woodley met in Cleveland a few months ago. Some observers believed the fight fell short of the hype, and Paul acknowledged that it wasn’t his best performance. Still, he nearly sold out Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland and generated significant attention on social media.
“I think I’m one of the faces of boxing, just because I’m doing it differently,” Paul said then.
Paul’s next opponent offered another chance to showcase how seriously he took the sport, beyond his marketing antics. But that opponent, Tommy Fury, who is 7-0 with four knockouts early on in his career and is the brother of the heavyweight superstar Tyson Fury, withdrew from the fight a couple of weeks ago because of a chest infection and broken rib.
“It’s funny how these ‘professionals’ like Tommy Fury, who’s considered a professional boxer, gets sick, breaks a rib and doesn’t want to fight,” Paul said Thursday at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa. “I’ve fought sick. I’ve fought hurt. You got to go in there and get the job done.”
On the table in front of him was a belt with the words “Most Valuable Boxer” and Paul’s name plastered on the front. A black mask covered most of his face, allowing only his eyes to show.
“They were like, ‘Oh, you’ve got Tyron Woodley now.’ No problem,” Paul said confidently. “That’s why I got the ski mask on. They’re going to give me a big bag to go in there and beat the guy I already beat? This is a bank robbery.”
Many thought Woodley, 39, should have knocked out Paul in August. Though it was Woodley’s pro boxing debut, he had entered the bout as the more experienced fighter with 27 professional mixed martial arts fights in his career. In the fourth round, Woodley landed a big right hand that wobbled Paul and sent him stumbling into the ropes. But Paul remained in the bout.
“Maybe I could have did more. Maybe I could have been a little bit more active,” Woodley said, adding: “This is a young kid. He hasn’t really went a long fight ever. This was the first time he ever went more than two or three rounds. His chin hasn’t been hit that often. He’s going to be able to take a punch.”
The first time the two met, they agreed that the loser of the fight would get a tattoo saying that they loved the winner. This time, Paul said he added a clause to Woodley’s contract that would give him an extra $500,000 if he knocks him out.
“Up the ante,” Paul said.
Jake’s older brother Logan is also a YouTuber who has dabbled in boxing, including an eight-round exhibition against Floyd Mayweather that went the distance and ended with no decision.
In keeping with the nontraditional spectacle of the night, the undercard will feature a crossover bout between the retired N.F.L. running back Frank Gore and Deron Williams, a former N.B.A. player.
Gore, 38, used a 16-season N.F.L. career, mostly with the San Francisco 49ers, to amass the third-most rushing yards in league history. Despite drawing interest from N.F.L. teams to return for a possible 17th season, Gore turned his attention to boxing, a sport he said he had always loved.
Williams was a three-time All-Star who won two Olympic gold medals with the United States. He was a lottery pick in the 2005 N.B.A. draft, the same year he led Illinois to the N.C.A.A. men’s championship game. Injuries limited him throughout his career, and he retired in 2017.
Williams and Gore will fight in a four-round heavyweight match in their pro boxing debuts. They are contractually limited to weighing 215 pounds.
“Football and boxing are totally different. When you watched me play I never really got hit. That’s why I was able to last so long. I played off of angles,” Gore told reporters. “Now, with boxing, I’m going in there with guys that have had 300 amateur fights, are 10-0 as pros. So I can’t just dodge all the shots they are throwing because they have more ring experience.”