Jake Paul vs. Mike Tyson set for July 20 on Netflix



Marc Raimondi, ESPN Staff Writer

Jake Paul rose to combat sports fame when he knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson on the undercard of Mike Tyson's exhibition boxing match with Roy Jones Jr. in 2020.

Now, Paul, the YouTuber-turned-prizefighter, and Tyson, the former heavyweight boxing champion, will meet again -- as opponents -- in what will be the most polarizing spectacle yet of the recent crossover boxing craze.

Tyson will face Paul in a boxing match July 20 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in the main event of a card that will air on Netflix, officials told ESPN. It will be the streaming company's first foray into combat sports and its third live sporting event overall. Paul's Most Valuable Promotions (MVP) inked a deal with Netflix for a boxing card last Nov. 1, per MVP co-founder Nakisa Bidarian.

"Jake Paul vs. Mike Tyson is a once-in-a-lifetime dream matchup and I anticipate it will be the most-watched boxing event in modern boxing history," Bidarian said in a statement.

It is unclear how the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which sanctions and regulates combat sports in the state, will approach what will surely be a matchup that garners plenty of criticism and attention. It is yet to be determined whether it will be classified as a pro fight or an exhibition.

Tyson is one of the greatest -- and most fearsome -- heavyweight boxers to ever live. But he will be 58 at the time of the fight. Paul, at 27, is three decades his junior.

Tyson was in good shape when he fought Jones to a draw in an exhibition boxing match Nov. 28, 2020, and he has looked good in social media videos training. Tyson has not had a pro fight since 2005 and was stopped in two straight before hanging up the gloves. The boxer born in New York City was the undisputed heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990.

"[Paul has] grown significantly as a boxer over the years, so it will be a lot of fun to see what the will and ambition of a 'kid' can do with the experience and aptitude of a GOAT," Tyson said in a statement. "It's a full-circle moment that will be beyond thrilling to watch, as I started him on his boxing journey on the undercard of my fight with Roy Jones, and now I plan to finish him."

Paul (9-1, 6 KOs) went on to beat former UFC stars such as Nate Diaz, Anderson Silva and Tyron Woodley after the Robinson knockout in big-money main events. The fighter from Cleveland has since pivoted to fighting boxers who have more experience than him to gain seasoning with an eye toward one day competing for a world championship. Paul, who turned pro only four years ago, is coming off back-to-back first-round knockouts of journeymen Andre August and Ryan Bourland.

"It's crazy to think that in my second pro fight I went viral for knocking out Nate Robinson on Mike Tyson's undercard," Paul said in a statement. "Now, less than four years later, I'm stepping up to face Tyson myself to see if I have what it takes to beat one of boxing's most notorious fighters and biggest icons. Within just two and a half years of founding MVP, we're about to produce the biggest fight in history, a fight in the biggest NFL stadium in the US, broadcast live, on the biggest streaming platform in the world -- a testament to all we've accomplished in such a short amount of time."

Paul was featured in an episode of the Netflix series "Untold" last year. Netflix, which is moving aggressively into live sports, streamed the Netflix Cup, a competition between Formula 1 drivers and golfers, and the Netflix Slam, a tennis match, over the past four months.

"Mike Tyson is one of the biggest icons in boxing history and Jake Paul is one of the biggest disruptors in boxing history," Gabe Spitzer, Netflix vice president for nonfiction sports, said in a statement. "Saturday, July 20 will be pure drama in the ring in Texas. We are thrilled to partner with Most Valuable Promotions for this historic event and we can't wait for these two to face off for fans all across the world on Netflix."

Keywords: Netflix Jake Paul Mike Tyson

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