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Jake Paul’s next fight: Would Julio Cesar Chavez Jr be a logical opponent?

Jake Paul needs an opponent, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr does bring some “positives” to the table. But a licensing issue could scrap that plan before it even gets started.

Mike Ehrmann and Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

From a certain point of view, a Jake Paul vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr fight is appealing. That point of view is held by folks who are not in the purist camp, people that appreciate that life is ideally seen as a source of bemusement.

Think about all the tomfoolery, buffoonery, the slapstick buildup, the battle for who wears the silliest underwear in public. Maybe, if that fight got booked, they’d find an oversight body with relaxed standards, so they could do a side bet; the fighter with the highest level of THC in their system, if they win, gets a $100,000 bonus?

OK, I’m joking, but only partly. If you haven’t noticed, Showtime is embracing an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” route this year. They tried to build the ladies side starting in 2017, thinking they’d carve out a differentiating niche from DAZN and ESPN. Decent idea, but there just wasn’t (and arguably still isn’t) enough talent to to sustain the level of interest and the strategy.

They had to adapt when FOX hopped into the space, remember, and cut a deal with Premier Boxing Champions, draining some talent and taking some focus and attention starting in 2018. Showtime weathered that bumpy part of the ride, tread water with more ShoBox events at points, and played it cool until the waters settled.

Eddie Hearn isn’t as focused on the U.S. quite so much as he was, so DAZN has receded in import, and that allows more area for Showtime to step back up to the main stage. You can ask Stephen Espinoza, but I do wonder if not for COVID, would I be discussing Jake Paul being the face of Showtime Boxing, their most vital building block in generating revenue?

After COVID barreled through all sports, Showtime got back to doing “bubble” events, but the program did have more down time, and the execs had more free time to assess and plot a course “post-COVID,” and it seems to be working on the levels I have access to viewing. No, I don’t have close to a clear conception of the revenue, but I get the sense that Jake Paul pay-per-view numbers don’t distress Espinoza.

That’s all to say, I do think there would be a healthy appetite to see the shit-show — and I do not use that in a degrading way — that Jake Paul vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr would be. Start your engines of speculation, folks, and think of the entertaining nonsense Paul and Jackpot Junior would cook up. And who knows how much Paul is actually thinking Jorge Masvidal is his best option for next fight in April 2022.

But there’s possibly a mountainous problem in making Paul v the eccentric son of Mexico’s greatest non active pugilist — isn’t Chavez Jr essentially banned from fighting in America?

The 35-year-old boxer, who holds a 53-6-1 (34 KO) record just fought in Mexico against David Zegarra, gaining a win. But I’m pretty sure he’d have to do some work to remedy his standing with the Association of Boxing Commissions, because you remember how he refused to take a drug test heading into a planned bout with Daniel Jacobs in 2019.

You know boxing, the show must go on, usually — and it did, as they moved the Jacobs-Chavez fight from Nevada to Arizona. Chavez didn’t drape himself in glory, showing up overweight before quitting on the stool after five rounds.

And unless there’s been remedial work done behind the scenes, Chavez is suspended from getting licensed in the U.S. In October, the Nevada commission called for a three-year suspension term for Chavez for the testing refusal/dispute, so he’s on the no-fly list as best I can tell.