Paul (5-0), the notorious YouTuber-turned boxer, will face what many think to be his toughest test yet in former longtime UFC middleweight champion Silva (3-1). The pair meet in an eight-round, 180-pound bout Oct. 29 at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Ariz. The card airs on Showtime pay-per-view.
The hype for the contest is already in full swing. Paul and Silva recently did a two-city media tour where they talked up the bout and engaged in pre-fight faceoffs. Paul said the promotion hasn’t reached its boiling point, either, with a special “All Access” series and more still to debut.
If all goes smoothly, Paul thinks the combination of Silva’s fanbase with his own should make for a blockbuster event that could trend well beyond half-a-million pay-per-view buys
“I do think this will be the biggest pay-per-view (of my career),” Paul told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “I would be happy with anywhere from 300-500,000, but I think it can get up anywhere to like 600 or 700,000, depending on how the fight week goes and the promotion and if ‘All Access’ performs well. I think this could be the biggest one for sure.”
After launching his boxing career with wins over former MMA champions Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren, Paul attempted to veer into a public desire to fight a “real boxer,” with scheduled bouts against Tommy Fury and Hasim Rakhman Jr. Neither came to fruition, so Paul went to a fight against an MMA legend in Silva.
With much of the MMA community rooting against Paul, Silva has been reluctant to say he’s representing his former sport inside the ring.
Paul, however, begs to differ.
“He’s definitely representing the MMA community. I think he just doesn’t want that pressure, maybe because even Tyron (Woodley) said the same thing,” Paul said. “Clearly they are representing the MMA community, and tons of the MMA fans want to see me lose, because there is a feud between us all. So he definitely is representing his legacy and all that. And the reason this fight is happening is because Dana White said I wouldn’t do it. So I had to check his bluff and prove to everyone, including him, that I’m not scared of Anderson Silva. … So this is definitely MMA vs. I guess myself.”
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When fight night arrives, Paul said he’s going to be in his best form. He doesn’t see the judges being needed for this fight and expects to finish the job inside the distance.
“Knock him out before Round 5 – that’s my prediction and I strong, strongly believe in that,” Paul said. “Respectfully knock him out. With love and grace and a kiss.”