Nate Robinson should not have been in a boxing ring. That much was clear Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles on the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. undercard. Making his pro boxing debut against one-fight veteran and YouTube sensation Jake Paul, Robinson had speed. He had aggression.
He also, very quickly and very definitively, got knocked out less than two minutes into the second round.
"You don't play boxing," analyst Sugar Ray Leonard said.
Robinson (0-1) learned that lesson in the most brutal way. He was knocked down in the first round rushing at Paul when Paul (2-0, 2 KO) hit him just above the ear. In the second round, Paul hit Robinson on the forehead to knock him down again.
Somehow, Robinson got up again. It wasn't for long. Robinson once again ran into Paul, and Paul just timed his punch to one of Robinson's aggressive moves forward, knocking him out completely.
Paul landed eight punches. Three of them led to knockdowns, including the overhand right that ended the fight.
Paul said he fought with a broken nose after falling on his face meditating and couldn't spar until recently. He said he is now going to focus on his music but added, "I'm willing to be patient" with his boxing career, and he believes he has a future in the sport.
It's tough to judge what level of skill the 23-year-old Paul has, because Robinson had no experience. Paul said on the Triller broadcast after the fight that "he was better than I expected" and credited Robinson for stepping into the ring with him.
Paul then called out a bunch of people to fight next -- including a claim he could knock out UFC star Conor McGregor in a boxing match.
"Being one of the most hated people in the world, I have to fight through that," Paul said. "It's not easy. So for me, this is my perfect sport. I found my lane." -- Michael Rothstein
Why have a California Commission if they allow this??— Teddy Atlas (@TeddyAtlasReal) November 29, 2020
He ain't getting up this time ! My god @jakepaul murked him— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) November 29, 2020
See. This is why you cannot be casual with this sport. It's boxing. The hurt business. No room for games. Thank goodness this Nate guy seems okay. Wasn't right after that back of the head shot. Horrible. #PaulRobinson @triller— Rosie Perez (@rosieperezbklyn) November 29, 2020
#TysonJones #PPV #boxing
Robinson learned a tough lesson in defeat
Nate Robinson is an amazing athlete, and he excelled as a basketball player, but it was scary to see him hit the canvas face-first to end his bout with Jake Paul.
As the laughs poured in from the broadcast and probably from many of those watching on TV, Robinson was trying to regain his bearings. He learned an important lesson: Boxing isn't like pickup basketball; not everyone can do it.
It was clear Robinson hadn't put it in enough time to fully give the boxing game justice. His style of just speed-rushing Paul wasn't enough when paired with a nonexistent defense. Robinson was taught that you can't skip steps in boxing. Most times, you can't simply defeat someone just because you're the better athlete. Most importantly, every time people step into those ropes, they are risking their life, and they need to be prepared for that. Robinson won't ever forget this moment, and hopefully it is his last one in professional boxing.
-- Cameron Wolfe
Jack wins, but doesn't shine
Badou Jack was dominant against an overmatched Blake McKernan in the only fight on the Tyson-Jones undercard with a notable boxer.
But you'll be more hard-pressed to find a worse one-sided win than the one Jack (23-3-3, 13 KOs) picked up Saturday night. Jack, who fought at the heaviest weight of his pro career, should have demolished someone like McKernan (13-1, 6 KOs). But not only did McKernan go the distance, he withstood of all of Jack's punishment and was never even knocked down.
Stop this fight.— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) November 29, 2020
Yes, Jack won every round on all three scorecards. Sure, the fight should have been stopped by the referee or McKernan's corner to avoid any further punishment. But ultimately, Jack failed to stop someone who has never come remotely close to fighting someone of his caliber.
This is where a closer examination of Jack is required. He's 37 years old and had one win in his previous five bouts entering Saturday.
With an opponent like McKernan, Jack was in a no-win situation. Either you win dominantly as expected or fail to look impressive. For Jack, it was the latter. -- Ben Baby
Ortiz shines in KO victory
Jamaine Ortiz, by the later rounds, seemed to be toying with Sulaiman Segawa. He'd bounce in and out, dance around his opponent and then land one or two punches before popping back out again.
It was consistent throughout the fight, with Ortiz controlling the middle rounds and an eventual knockout 2 minutes, 50 seconds into the seventh round to win the USNBC silver lightweight title as the prize.
The end for Segawa (13-3-1) started with an uppercut to the body that knocked him to the ground. Segawa got up -- and then Ortiz (14-0, 8 KOs) pummeled him with multiple shots to the head that led the referee to stop the fight.
Like the Irvin Gonzalez-Edward Vasquez fight in the opener, Segawa-Ortiz was an action-filled fight with strong pace throughout. Segawa survived a strong flurry in the last 30 seconds of the third round by Ortiz, a stretch when Ortiz landed multiple combinations.
Ortiz threw 426 punches -- 153 fewer than Segawa -- and landed 121 of them, compared to 129 for Segawa. Segawa landed more power punches (111-92), but Ortiz was far more accurate (40% to 31%).
Ortiz seemed to separate himself in the fourth round with a variety of punches -- all of which had good timing. He stalked Segawa across the ring, pounding him through constant contact. Segawa rebounded early in the fifth with the most energy he showed since the middle of Round 2. He dealt with an accidental head-butt in the middle of the round to be more aggressive, but whenever he did, Ortiz countered deftly.
The 29-year-old managed to stay up throughout with a strong chin, but the 24-year-old Ortiz, from Worcester, Massachusetts, toyed with Segawa for much of the fight. It appeared as if Segawa had tired Ortiz in the seventh round, but Ortiz countered and ended the fight for his second straight knockout. -- Rothstein
Vasquez outpoints Gonzalez for win
Forget the vast amount of nonsense surrounding the rest of this fight card. What Irvin Gonzalez and Edward Vazquez did in the ring was display boxing at its best. Vazquez won via split decision, 77-75, 75-77, 77-75 in an all-action fight that was one of the best bouts of 2020.
In the first round, Vazquez was buckled by a big uppercut, but he managed to stay on his feet. In that exchange, the Fort Worth, Texas, native displayed the chin he needed to defeat Gonzalez. Vasquez weathered big punches throughout the eight-round bout and turned up the heat in the final three minutes.
Vazquez (9-0, 1 KO) landed big shots in the eighth round and appeared to hurt Gonzalez (14-3, 11 KOs) in the final minute. Though Vazquez was not able to send his opponent to the canvas or get a stoppage, he did enough to pull out a victory in one of the most entertaining bouts of the year.
The willingness to engage the way Vazquez and Gonzalez did Saturday night is becoming increasingly rare in the sport. Their performance should be applauded and both fighters did nothing but help their stock after their outing on the Tyson-Jones undercard. -- Baby
Young fighters take advantage of the spotlight
The fighters on the Tyson-Jones undercard took full advantage of their opportunity. Vasquez and Ortiz put on very entertaining performances to open the night's festivities. And it was the best thing they could have done for themselves and the sport.
On a night when many causal fans and those looking for nostalgia tuned in, they got a good glimpse of young, exciting fighters. Even hardcore fight fans will have Vasquez and Ortiz on their radars after that performance, which is a best-case scenario when agreeing to fight on a celebrity card. And even the losers in the early bouts improved their stock. Gonzalez, who lost to Vasquez via split decision, and Segawa, had solid performances and were entertaining, even in defeat.
For the actual boxers on the Tyson-Jones card, winning isn't nearly as important as giving fans a reason to watch the next time they step into the ring. That's exactly what the four guys on the undercard did Saturday night.
Hopefully other fighters can take notice of what happened. Because boxing could use a lot more of that. -- Baby