Stephen A. Smith on Jake Paul boxing Mike Tyson: It’s a disrespect to the sport

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith did not mince words when discussing YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul’s recent pro bout against boxing legend Mike Tyson. In a recent interview, Smith slammed Paul for participating in the bout, calling it a “joke” and a “disrespect” to the sport of boxing.

“I’m telling you, it’s a joke,” Smith said in an interview. “You got a guy who’s never been in the ring before, and you’re putting him in the ring with a Hall of Famer, a legend in Mike Tyson. I don’t care if it’s an exhibition, I don’t care if it’s just for charity – it’s a disrespect to the sport.”

The exhibition bout, which took place on September 25, saw Paul face off against Tyson in a scheduled eight-round match. The bout was part of a charity event, with proceeds going to benefit various charitable organizations. However, Smith argued that the event was more about generating buzz and making money than about the sport of boxing itself.

“Let me tell you something, this is about making a dollar,” Smith said. “This is about Jake Paul trying to get more followers, trying to get more views, trying to make more money. It’s not about the sport of boxing. It’s about using Mike Tyson’s name, using Mike Tyson’s legacy, to get more attention.”

Smith also criticized Paul’s background, or lack thereof, in the sport of boxing. “This is a guy who’s never had an amateur fight, never had a professional fight, and you’re putting him in the ring with a legend?” Smith asked. “What’s next? Are we going to put him in the ring with Floyd Mayweather? Are we going to put him in the ring with Canelo Alvarez?”

The controversy surrounding the bout has sparked a larger conversation about the state of boxing and the role of celebrity involvement in the sport. While some argue that Paul’s involvement in the bout brought attention to the sport, others, like Smith, argue that it undermines the integrity of boxing.

As for Paul, he has defended his decision to participate in the bout, saying that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from a legend like Tyson. However, Smith remained unimpressed, saying that Paul’s participation was nothing more than a publicity stunt.

“I don’t care what Jake Paul says,” Smith said. “This is about making a dollar, this is about getting attention, this is about using Mike Tyson’s name. And I’m not buying it.”

It’s worth noting that the event generated significant revenue, with estimates suggesting that the bout brought in millions  in revenue. However, for critics like Smith, the event was more about generating buzz than about the sport of boxing itself.