Was Jake Paul vs Woodley staged?

Image via Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Viewers are calling out the knockout punch in Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley’s Dec. 18 boxing match, sparking a debate about whether or not the fight was staged.

Paul, a former YouTuber and thoroughly cringey celebrity, has been actively pursuing a boxing career for several years now. Since his first amateur fight in 2018, Paul has squared up with several prominent names, including Ben Askren.

His most recent fight saw the 24-year-old enter the ring with pro boxer and MMA fighter Tyron Woodley for the second time. The two fought back in August 2021, but the match’s split decision caused contention among viewers. The continued debate surrounding the initial match prompted the duo to agree to a rematch, which occurred in Tampa, Fla., on Dec. 18.

The rematch saw Paul win via a knockout punch in the 6th round. Videos of the match’s final moments show Paul delivering a brutal right-handed blow to the side of Woodley’s head, knocking the older man out cold. In the hours after the fight, however, rumors began to swirl that the knockout was staged. People pointed to several key moments in the fight as proof that it was a hoax, and called out Paul for faking a win.

Was the fight staged?

It’s hard to definitively say if the fight was staged, but people are doing their absolute best to prove that Jake Paul is a fraud. In the hours after the Paul vs Woodley match, “staged” and “rigged” began trending on Twitter, as people shared their claims that the fight was faked.

People supporting claims that the fight was staged point to several moments within the match as proof. Some fans pointed to a moment just before the knockout blow was delivered, in which Paul and Woodley appear to share a nod. Others felt that a hand motion from Paul seems to be signaling that the time for the knockout had come.

A key angle of the knockout punch appears to contradict these claims, however. Shared to Paul’s Twitter, the video shows a side angle of the final blow and sees sweat fly out in a cloud as his fist makes contact with Woodley’s head. The instant after he connects, Woodley goes down hard, crumpling face-forward onto the mat.

Several people pointed to this video, in specific, as proof that the fight was legit. One user pointed out, “There’s no way someone’s falling like that on purpose … you’d instinctively put your hands out.” He makes a fair point, as Woodley falls almost directly onto his face following the knockout punch.

Regardless of people questioning whether or not it was staged, Paul is riding high on his recent victory. Following his big win against Woodley, Paul immediately engaged in interviews, gloating and picking fights with several prominent boxers. His confidence was so high, in fact, that he even called out heavyweight pro Conor McGregor and UFC president Dana White.

“I just knocked out a five-time UFC champion and embarrassed your whole company,” Paul said of White. “Please, please let me get Kamaru Usman, let me get Diaz, let me get Masvidal, let me get McGregor because I’m going to embarrass them too.”

In response to his gloating, Masvidal posted a video to his Instagram calling out Paul.

“Listen man, You can’t f**king afford me. Me and those other names you mentioned, you can’t f**king afford,” he said in a red-saturated video. “I know what you pay. You talk a big game. You say $50 million there, $100 million there. Bullshit. I’ll tell you a little secret; I fight for money or I fight the best in the world. You’re neither.”

“I’ll break your jaw in front of the whole world man,” he added. “I promise you that.”