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Predictions: Jake Paul vs Anderson Silva, who wins? Plus Lomachenko-Ortiz and more

Will Jake Paul stay undefeated or is Anderson Silva too much for him? That and more on a packed weekend in boxing.

Jake Paul faces Anderson Silva on Saturday. Who wins the fight?
Jake Paul faces Anderson Silva on Saturday. Who wins the fight?
Caitlin O’Hara/SHOWTIME

Jake Paul vs Anderson Silva

Scott Christ (74-33)

This is a weird one — I mean, obviously, it’s the “content influencer” against the 47-year-old MMA legend, but as far as trying to earnestly analyze the style matchup, it’s a weird one.

Silva, I think, has the skills to beat Paul on points, and rather comfortably so, but he’ll have to stay dialed in. He can’t showboat, he can’t get overly confident, especially defensively. Silva made a career of feasting on aggressive but limited strikers, but his reflexes are not what they were, and his chin has been cracked. Jake is also a much younger man, and I don’t care what else you think of his boxing game, the kid can crack. He has a natural punching power that you’re born with, and he’s worked on making it count by improving his technique.

I also have the feeling Paul isn’t yet enough of a “boxer” to simply get frustrated and give up if things aren’t going his way by round four or five. Silva may pick and peck and dance on him for a while, which can mentally defeat an average boxer or even a good one if the other guy is that much better, but I don’t think Paul’s brain will work that way. And he believes himself to have that one-shot power, too, and one-shot fighters can always keep that hope alive. Worked well enough for Randall Bailey a number of times.

This is Jake’s biggest test yet. Whether their confidence in Paul’s ability in this matchup is misplaced or not will be seen on Saturday. If he wins, the criticism will be there, and it’s fair enough — Silva’s old, Silva’s still not a full-time boxer, even if he’s much better at boxing than Woodley or Askren were. Jake knows that, too, he’s acknowledged it will be that way. It’s a fight where there’s enough risk to be viable, but I think the Paul team are truly confident of victory.

I’m going with Anderson, though. Not because I can’t imagine it going the other way, but just because I think he might barely nick this thing even with some spots of trouble. If he can get the tempo he wants, that will be huge. If he can keep Paul from throwing much of anything, that will be huge. So I’m going with a Silva decision that Paul calls a robbery because maybe he scores a knockdown at one point or he hurts Silva a couple times. Silva SD-8

Wil Esco (86-21)

I sort of hate that we have to pick these kind of fights because what am I really supposed to judge this on? Anderson Silva should pose the most credible threat Jake Paul has gone up against thus far, but he’s also nearing 50 years old. The one thing that I do think will present some challenges is that Silva is much more defensively capable than any of Paul’s past opponents, so even if he’s not able to rack up a lot of accumulated damage on Paul, I don’t really see Silva taking a beating or much punishment at all here either. That leaves me to wonder whether Silva can actually rack up enough points on the official cards to win this fight.

This is, however, a contrived match and that also makes it very difficult for me to know what to expect as far as the scoring goes. I have a hunch this fight sort of ends up sucking with Silva exposing limitations on Paul, only to come up short on the cards anyway because Paul is the mighty A-side attraction. Seems like the most likely outcome to me, and I’m not willing to put any more brain power into thinking about it. Paul UD-8

John Hansen (83-24)

Anderson Silva is about a year older than Carroll O’Connor was when the first episode of “All in the Family” premiered. If we had a time machine, I’d pick Silva to kick Archie Bunker’s ass, but he’d be giving up something in age in the matchup.

As for the result here in 2022? A good grifter always seems vulnerable. A wise man knows enough to just walk right past the con. Paul UD-8

Patrick Stumberg (88-19)

Beneath all the marketing and egotism, Jake Paul has some genuine boxing talent. His fundamentals are progressing nicely and his power looks pretty damn legit. He’s not going to be a champion or anything, but I can see him reaching the lofty heights of Actually Pretty Decent with a couple more years of seasoning.

But this is Anderson Silva we’re talking about. I don’t care that he’s pushing 50, the guy made a career out of making strikers of Paul’s caliber look like they were pulled in off the street. While he eventually became something of a solved game in the Octagon, Paul’s not ready for this. The way you beat Silva is by either forcing him to lead or mixing up your attack such that you can exploit his bad defensive habits, and Paul lacks the patience for the former and the technical skill for the latter.

Yes, this could just be my nostalgia brain talking. Yes, Silva’s old as balls. But the 2020s have taken so much from us; the least they could do is give us one more Forrest Griffin moment. Silva TKO-6

Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Jamaine Ortiz

Scott Christ (74-33)

Should the expected come to pass — a relatively painless Lomachenko win — it’s another example of the way boxing promoters build records to feed those records to their preferred stars. And if the fighter you built up the record for pulls an upset, well, congratulations, now you have that fighter — hopefully — under contract, too, and off you go trying to make them a star.

But that’s to do with the string-pullers, and rarely anything much to do with the fighters themselves. Jamaine Ortiz is a guy who’s done what he can to fight his way into this spot, and he’ll have the chance to win and really break through as a serious player at 135 lbs. He is going to come into this fight trying to win it. Ortiz has back-to-back solid wins over Nahir Albright and Jamel Herring, but even as a genuine admirer of Herring’s, I can’t say either of those opponents are really in league with Lomachenko. I think if Loma is in good form and wants to “impress,” he’ll get a stoppage in the second half. Lomachenko TKO-10

Wil Esco (86-21)

At Loma’s age I would preferably like to see him a little bit more active so I could have a better feel for where he’s currently at. At his best, Lomachenko is clearly one of the best technicians in the sport. At his worst, he is still one of the best technicians, but seemingly an unmotivated one who’s willing to spend more time showboating than throwing punches. There’s levels to this game, however, and unless Lomachenko has really fallen off, I think he pretty much has his way with Ortiz, as I have to believe he learned a valuable lesson in his loss to Teofimo Lopez a couple years ago. Ortiz is a good fighter, but I don’t think he has any of the special characteristics it’s going to take to beat someone like Lomachenko. Lomachenko breaks him down in the back half to force a stoppage. Lomachenko TKO-10

John Hansen (83-24)

Vasiliy Lomachenko last fought 10 months ago, dominating Richard Commey so thoroughly that Lomachenko was taking breaks to plead with Commey’s corner to stop the fight. Commey has since moved up in weight and fought a split draw with Jose Pedraza. But, if he were back at 135 and fighting Ortiz here, I’d have it a 50/50 sort of matchup. Boxing isn’t transitive, but a lot of my read on this fight comes from that assessment.

Jamaine Ortiz has put in the work and won all the fights to truly earn this shot, even if it doesn’t go well for him. He’s a legit, worthy opponent for Lomachenko here, and he deserves a chance to fight it out with one of the top men in his division. You can be a very good fighter, and still be a level below a guy like Lomachenko. Commey was, and I think Ortiz is, too. Credit to him for earning this opportunity, even if I don’t think he’ll be able to do much with it. Lomachenko TKO-10

Patrick Stumberg (88-19)

I’m pretty sure I’ve used this exact wording in another preview, or at least something similar, but reuse and recycling is vital for the environment: Jamaine Ortiz is a very good fighter taking on someone who eats very good fighters for breakfast. There’s no X-factor he can rely on to overcome the huge technical gulf between him and Lomachenko; he doesn’t have blistering speed or thudding power or a sufficiently unorthodox approach to make Lomachenko’s wizardry a non-factor. He’s simply a fundamentally sound boxer, and sound fundamentals alone do not beat Lomachenko.

On top of that, Ortiz has proven overly linear and hittable as he steps in, which makes him easy pickings for someone this adept with his angles. Either one big counter or an accumulation of damage should polish him off well before the championship rounds. Lomachenko TKO-7

JoJo Diaz vs William Zepeda

Scott Christ (74-33)

Zepeda’s limitations were perhaps a bit exposed against Rene Alvarado, but with that comes the knowledge that he is capable of going a hard 10 against an opponent who’s still there trying to win at the end. So there were good things, too, because that was always going to have to be proven or not; everyone wasn’t going to fold within six.

Instead of ever running Ryan Garcia vs one of these guys, instead we get them against one another, because Garcia’s off to 140 unless the Tank Davis fight actually happens. Diaz had talked about moving back to 130, but the best fight Golden Boy have for him is this one, and Diaz is a guy who tries to take good fights, generally speaking. I think he may have a bit too much skill mixed with the “dog in him,” a combination that should see him through Zepeda’s better moments and give him solid advantages otherwise. Diaz UD-12

Wil Esco (86-21)

In my estimation this is clearly the best fight of the notable ones taking place this weekend, between two evenly-matched opponents. JoJo Diaz is a good fighter. He may not be great, but he’s good, and on the right night he can really give most people hell. Zepeda isn’t so much flashy as he is steady, and I think Diaz is prone to some lapses that will give Zepeda his moments. Between the two, I think Diaz is the more dynamic fighter but I do have questions regarding his motivation, which could be exacerbated by the height and reach disadvantage he’ll face here. I’m sort of inclined to believe more people will favor Zepeda here, but I’m going to go against the grain and pick Diaz mostly in an effort to make up some lost ground from my last round of staff picks. Diaz MD-12

John Hansen (83-24)

JoJo Diaz was a force when he fought almost 10 pounds lighter than what he’ll weigh on the scales for Saturday’s fight. He did very good work at 130 pounds, too. But, at 135, I think he’s at a size where he’s tough and talented enough to give anyone a hard night, but too small to really contend against the best.

It’s not clear yet whether Zepeda is one of those best guys at lightweight. But, it is clear that he has real power and almost a six inch reach advantage over Diaz. If you believe Zepeda is more than just hype, and I do, this could be a very unpleasant evening for Diaz. Should be very entertaining for us, though. Zepeda UD-12

Patrick Stumberg (88-19)

If the Alvarado fight is anything to go by, this is too big a step for Zepeda. Alvarado is a quality fighter, but he should not have enjoyed that sort of success against a bigger, stronger, younger slugger like “El Camaron.” Zepeda’s inability to keep Alvarado at a distance and vulnerability to body shots inside are a bad combination against Diaz; you can work around “JoJo,” but it’s a damn sight harder to go straight through him.

There’s Zepeda’s power to consider, of course, but the fact that he couldn’t put a dent in Alvarado suggests that he can’t crack the historically durable Diaz. While Zepeda may land the heavier blows, Diaz’s superior infighting craft should be enough to carry him past the finish line. The shrimp beats The Shrimp. Diaz UD-12

Quick Picks!

Katie Taylor vs Karen Elizabeth Carabajal

  • Scott: Taylor UD-10
  • Wil: Taylor UD-10
  • John: Taylor TKO-8
  • Patrick: Taylor UD-10

Robeisy Ramirez vs Matias Romero

  • Scott: Ramirez TKO-6
  • Wil: Ramirez UD-10
  • John: Ramirez UD-10
  • Patrick: Ramirez UD-10

Uriah Hall vs Le’Veon Bell

  • Scott: Hall KO-2
  • Wil: Hall UD-4
  • John: Hall TKO-3
  • Patrick: Hall KO-2

Alexandro Santiago vs Antonio Nieves

  • Scott: Santiago SD-10
  • Wil: Nieves UD-10
  • John: Santiago UD-10
  • Patrick: Santiago UD-10

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