YouTube star Jake Paul shot to boxing prominence with back-to-back victories over UFC veterans Ben Askren and Tyrone Woodley, and the rumour mill is beginning to churn with speculation over who the American will fight next.
After Paul beat Woodley by split decision in their bout last month, promoter Eddie Hearn stated that the YouTuber should next take on UFC megastar Conor McGregor.
One man whose opinion holds plenty of weight when it comes to fighting McGregor is Javier Mendez, the former trainer of Khabib Nurmagomedov who has masterminded two victories over the famed Irishman.
In an exclusive interview with online betting website Betway, Mendez says he believes Paul has more than a puncher’s chance against McGregor, but warns the American to stay away from pound-for-boxing boxing king Canelo Alvarez.
“Jake has got so many advantages on Conor,” Mendez says. “Size being one of the big major ones, and the fact that he’s been boxing for three-plus years with really good boxing professionals that know what they’re doing. So no, he shouldn’t have to fear Conor whatsoever.
“Instead, he has to fear people like Canelo. He would just smash him in one round, it would be embarrassing. He hasn’t got a chance against those kinds of guys, he really should stay away from him – but against Conor, absolutely he has a chance.
“Looking at the two, Jake’s got big advantages in size and power. Yes, he doesn’t have fight experience but he’s been strictly just boxing for a long time now. Conor’s not been strictly boxing.”
Mendez also revealed that he has been in contact with Paul’s boxing coaches, who sent him behind-the-scenes clips of the American in sparring.
Having seen those videos, Mendez is even more certain that Paul has real boxing ability.
“I have first-hand knowledge of seeing Jake do his stuff,” he says. “I have videos that his coaches were sending me and I have had words with the people that he was sparring with.
“The guy’s legit. He’s not a top-level guy, don’t get me wrong. You can’t be top level with three pro fights, but he has skills and he has power and he has great coaching, he really does. And he’s a good athlete, so combine all those together and he’s gaining momentum.”
Jake’s brother Logan also got into the fight game recently, as he took on Floyd Mayweather in June.
As the fight was an exhibition match, no winner was declared, although Mendez believes neither Paul brother would have a chance against Mayweather in an official bout.
He does, however, respect the controversial brothers for getting into boxing and putting up huge pay-per-view numbers.
“When it came to Floyd Mayweather, in truth, they didn’t have a chance,” he says. “If Floyd had wanted to, he could have smacked them all. Floyd knew how to take away their power. They had as many chances as Floyd wanted to give them and he let Logan get away with not losing. It’s just entertainment.
“The Paul brothers are extremely likeable entertainers or extremely hateable entertainers, depending on your viewpoint. They cross both fields. People love them, people hate them, but people want to watch them, so I applaud them for what they’re doing.
“I respect their abilities but they’re not true boxers. They’re legit boxers but they’re not high-level. They’re not high-level at all, they’re beginners. For beginners to do what they do, that’s amazing and I applaud them for that because it takes special people to get that kind of attention.
“Whether it’s great for the sport, I‘d have to say majority yes because look at Jake Paul’s PPV numbers. How can a guy box another guy that’s never boxed and get that kind of attention?
“I’d be fooling myself to say nobody’s interested because of the really good numbers. One of the highest numbers of all time on PPV so, you know when you get over a million, that’s pretty high so I say kudos to them. They’re doing a great job.”