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Joe Weller helped kick off YouTube’s obsession with boxing when he fought KSI and lost in front of an arena filled with fans last year. Earlier this month, he took another shot at sparring, and Jake Paul dropped him with a wicked-looking body shot.
But after the video was uploaded to Paul’s channel earlier this week, some on the internet theorized that Weller took a dive for money.
After the requisite amount of trash-talking and dancing in the video, Weller and Paul strapped on their headgear and gloves and began sparring in a ring set up outside Paul’s Team 10 house. Weller showboated. Paul tried to shove him over the top rope of the ring.
From the footage uploaded to the channels of Weller and Paul, it’s clear that Paul has a much better technique than Weller. Then, Paul hit him with a left hook to the body at the end of the first round and Weller crumpled to the canvas.
Here’s Weller’s video.
And Paul’s version.
In his video, Weller said Paul “fully winded me,” and that it “hurt a lot.” But some on the internet believe it wasn’t real (and to be fair, Paul has admitted that many of his so-called past stunts were fake, so he hasn’t exactly built up a ton of credibility on this platform).
Looked real until the fakest ending I’ve ever seen— Scavo (@Scavoyt) March 27, 2019
I m deaf and blind too but i also think it was staged— Logic. Dude (@LogicDude2) March 27, 2019
But Weller and Paul have denied there was anything fake about their sparring session.
joe weller lasted 8 1/2 minutes with KSI— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) March 26, 2019
joe weller lasts 2 minutes with Jake Paul
“Seeing far too many people genuinely believing I staged to lose in the first round against Jake ffs …” Weller wrote on Twitter. “So annoying cuz I fully wanted to do good but that shot that winded me just was killer even if it did look well pussy … I’d never take money to look bad and take a loss LOL I legit do that enough on my own hahah Wish I coulda done better but boxing just ain’t my sport ffs.”
KSI, who is supposed to fight Logan Paul in a rematch from their draw last summer but who also has been challenged by Jake Paul, said he was disappointed by the sparring session. Jake Paul, meanwhile, said he still wants a shot at Soulja Boy.
Paul did not immediately respond to a Daily Dot request for comment. But it seems unlikely to me that there was anything fake about the actual boxing in the sparring session. Paul is clearly a much better boxer than Weller, and there’s been plenty of world-class boxing stars who have been legitimately dropped and knocked out by a well-placed shot to the torso that didn’t look like much to those who were watching. And Weller certainly isn’t world class.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.