Jake Paul wants to be taken seriously as a boxer.
The YouTube influencer has compiled a 7-1 record with four knockouts, but has yet to beat a legitimate pro boxer.
He will have a chance to change that soon. Paul will fight Andre August (10-1-1, 5 knockouts) in an eight-round cruiserweight bout Dec. 15 at Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando. DAZN is streaming the fight.
"I’m a professional boxer and I want to be world champion, so I need to pursue the path towards greatness against people who have been boxing their whole life,” Paul said in a statement. "I want to build my experience in the ring against seasoned fighters. I’m coming to prove my greatness on Friday, December 15th live on DAZN for the world to see.”
Since turning pro in 2020, Paul's wins in the boxing ring have come against fellow influencer AnEsonGib, former NBA star Nate Robinson and aging MMA fighters Ben Askren, Tyron Woodley (twice), Anderson Silva and, most recently, Nate Diaz in August.
The one blemish on Paul's record is from his only bout against a boxer by trade — Tommy Fury (10-0, 4 KO), who beat Paul by split decision in February.
August, 35, is a Houston-based fighter whose only professional loss was by technical knockout to Eric Abraham (7-16, 3 KO) in 2018. August has won five straight bouts since then, but his Aug. 11 unanimous decision win over Brandon Martin (7-1, 5 KO) was his first fight in nearly four years.
Former World Boxing Council light-middleweight champion and current DAZN commentator Sergio Mora has been a harsh critic of Paul, particularly for the YouTuber's lack of opponents who are legitimate boxers. He is not terribly impressed with the choice of August, whom Mora hadn't heard of before Wednesday.
"Seems like another Tommy Fury type opponent, who [Paul] lost a SD to," Mora said of August in a text message to The Times. "But yes, this man is technically a pro boxer and I will have to give [Paul] his credit."
Mora added: "I'll tell you what, I give credit to Paul and the team that he surrounds himself with — because it's so damn HARD to comb the nation to find opponents like this August guy that looks good on paper, but is a 'paper fighter.' ... He looks every part the fighter, but look into the numbers and you'll see he hasn't fought in 4 yrs and has fought nothing but 'non winners.'"
Asked if Paul will earn any of his respect by stepping into the ring with a professional fighter like August, Mora responded: "He will. But his team will win even more of my respect."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.