This sporting event was a total waste of time, but let’s see if we can glean anything useful from it.
Lesson 1: We’re All Suckers
Jake Paul and Tommy Fury aren’t top level fighters. Neither man, arguably, is even a high-level fighter. Jake Paul, especially, appears to be nothing more than a dedicated amateur; more dangerous than the average barroom brawler, but lacking a degree of skill or athleticism that anyone would, under normal circumstances, pay to see.
And yet Jake Paul was the main draw, and in terms of public enthusiasm this fight eclipsed any other boxing event since the (Tyson) Fury/Wilder trilogy.
I admit, I was was drawn in, and so were millions of others, including all the top analysts and many legendary fighters. Why? For no reason except hype. A buzz was created, stories were seeded, videos were made by the hundred, and eventually momentum took over and we all began to care.
The story behind the story, though, is simply that a boxing hobbyist and the not-particularly-talented, pretty-boy brother of the heavyweight champ, had a glorified sparring session. The fight was good, but far from great. Neither man had the strength or coordination to inflict much damage on the other, or even to win convincingly enough for a unanimous decision.
On the whole, we were all taken for a ride.
Lesson 2: Psychopathy Succeeds
I’ve never followed Jake Paul, and I did not care about his fights prior to this one, so I didn’t know anything about him going into this, except what he looked like. After seeing him speak at length several times, and noting the general way he conducts himself, I’m convinced (along with a number of people who have made videos on the topic) that the guy is a clinical psychopath. There appears to be no actual human being behind the mask. He is, at bottom, exactly what he pretends to be: a weird, unfeeling, and endlessly manipulative person.
This explains why, despite his being not at all charismatic or clever—and in fact, being apparently somewhat stupid—Jake is spectacularly successful. A psychopath, due to a lack of empathy, can singlemindedly pursue self-serving goals, and make use of angles that normal people don’t see, or won’t capitalize on.
We should not seek to be like Jake Paul, but we should understand that we can all benefit from a little cold-blooded pragmatism, and we should know that people like him really do exist, and should be watched out for, and watched closely once identified.
Lesson 3: Cover The Basics
Tommy Fury is obviously not a world-class boxing talent. Against a durable and determined opponent, he lacks knockout power, or even the ability to avoid many telegraphed punches. Tommy also seems to be somewhat weak in terms of his mental game. His tough-guy act appears forced, his father and brother often talk over him and speak for him, and once the pressure of the whole situation let up, he was so relieved that he wept.
But Tommy is two things: extremely fit, and well-practiced at boxing fundamentals. Despite lacking the wit, bravado, and talent of the other Furys, Tommy was able to show up the much more confident Jake Paul, due exclusively to hard work. He had covered the basics of “the sweet science,” or had the basics drilled into him by the other Furys, and his cardio was such that he did not slow down much if at all as the rounds wore on.
Whatever you’re doing, cover the basics, and when in doubt, return to them. They are a lot more reliable than talent or confidence.
Lesson 4: It’s Okay to be A Sucker, Within Reason
Why deny it? Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury was good, idiotic fun. It was a lot like the showdowns some of us may remember from high school, in which two “big men on campus” had beef, and would meet some place where no adult was likely to interfere, and half the school would show up just to see who was going to get humiliated and who was the real badass.
Jake and Tommy even resemble high-school archetypes, with Jake being the shady, scrappy kid with the skateboard and the bloodshot eyes, and Tommy being the preppy asshole, clean cut and fit to a fault, dating the head cheerleader, full of swagger, but probably—we suspect—lacking grit when it comes time to throw down.
The whole thing worked as a movie script, or as reality TV, and a little bread and circuses doesn’t hurt anyone, as long as we remember that it’s bread and circuses. But if you found yourself feeling personally invested in either of these characters—as many people online were—you should probably avoid these sorts of events in the future. To Jake Paul and Tommy Fury, you are just the cha-ching of a cash register or another YouTube or Instagram click. They wouldn’t care if you spontaneously combusted, and you should, therefore, have exactly the same attitude toward them.
Let them entertain you. Give them a click if you feel like it. But remember that events like this, in the final telling, are a waste of your time.