'He's extremely tough!' - Tony Bellew makes bold prediction for Jake Paul vs Nate Diaz
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Former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew believes YouTuber Jake Paul will have “huge advantages” in his hotly-anticipated mega-fight with Nate Diaz.
Paul is set to make his stunning return to the ring against former UFC star Diaz on 5th August after suffering his first professional defeat to Tommy Fury.
The 26-year-old YouTuber-turned-boxer suffered a split-decision loss in Saudi Arabia back in February, despite dropping Fury in the eighth round of their super-fight.
Paul had a rematch clause interested into his contract for the Fury fight but the ‘Problem Child’ opted not to trigger it and instead set his sights on Diaz.
Speaking to SPORTbible in an exclusive interview, Bellew insisted that Diaz would be “giving away an awful lot of size” to Paul in their eight-round boxing fight.
“Of course, he [Paul] can be called a boxer: he’s faced a professional boxer,” he said.
“He may have lost, but he’s faced one. You know why he does what he does. And he sells and he talks an awful lot of nonsense, but listen, he’s willing to get in the ring and try and back it up.
“So, you can’t really knock him. Going up against Nate Diaz. I mean, I fully expect him to deal with Nate Diaz.
“Nate Diaz is noted as having half-decent hands in the UFC [and] in mixed martial arts.
“Having half these hands in mixed martial arts, you’re basically not even as good as a novice boxer.
“So, you know, I don’t think it’s going to make too much of a difference to someone like Jake Paul.
“Nate Diaz will be giving away an awful lot of size to someone like Jake Paul. Nate Diaz, someone who’s a career-long lightweight and welterweight in the UFC which is, like, insane to think he can compete with a man who’s 200-plus pounds.
“Jake Paul [is] a bit of a… he’s a lump -- he’s not a full-blown cruiserweight like myself, stroking on a heavyweight.
“He’s a big lad and he’ll have huge advantages going in against Nate Diaz. He doesn’t make matches Jake Paul to lose, mate.
“He makes them because he genuinely thinks he can win [when] everything is stacked in his favour. It’s just that he slipped up against Tommy Fury.
“I mean, in true hindsight, I couldn’t even call that a fight. It was just two fellas just basically both petrified of losing. I understand and I get it.
“The pressure on both of them, especially Tommy Fury, was immense. It really was. I mean, when you have [the family] saying you can’t come home, we’re gonna disown [you], you lose your surname if you lose, you know what I mean?
“And that’s an awful lot of pressure, so I do get it for Tommy Fury and, you know, thankfully for boxing he came through, but make no mistake, mate, this wasn’t a [boxing fight]. This was more of an ego contest between Fury and Paul and Fury came out on top.”
Diaz, who has never fought in a professional boxing match, became a free agent after his submission win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 279 in Las Vegas last September.
Bellew praised the 38-year-old MMA star as a “very, very tough” fighter and added that Diaz can handle his shots after back-to-back UFC fights with Conor McGregor.
However, the 40-year-old Liverpool-born former boxer doesn’t believe that Paul will “spark out” Diaz and predicts the ‘Problem Child’ to win on points at the American Airlines Center.
“I just think he’ll beat him on points,” Bellew added.
“Nate’s very, very tough, even if it is in a boxing match. He’s extremely tough, takes a good shot on the whiskers, he’s been clocked by an awful lot of people who are quite heavy-handed.
“Conor McGregor’s one of [the] most accurate punchers, strikers in the world, regarding whether it’s boxing or MMA and he [Nate] took on McGregor shots clean on the whiskers a couple of times, to be fair, so I’d be surprised if he actually knocked him spark out.
“But as I said before, mixed martial arts and boxing are two totally different sports, mate, they really are.
“It’s like trying to say football and rugby are similar because they’re both played with a ball. That’s how different both sports really are.
“So we’ll see. I mean, one thing I will say is the build-up will be exciting.
“Nate Diaz will throw a few things, you know, into the mix and make it all a bit crazy. But, you know, Jake Paul will do what he does and that is sell. And he sells really well.”
Bellew has teamed up with Three UK and Premier League side Chelsea and featured in the ‘ConnectWith’ series alongside Trevoh Chalobah for a series of challenges.
Speaking on the collaboration, he said: “I was excited, to be honest.
“I mean, Trevoh was a good participant. I enjoyed working with him, to be fair. And yeah, I mean, I can’t really complain.
“He’s a super talented kid, [a] super talented footballer and I’ve had my day in my field. So yeah, it was good to mix it up a little bit.”
Tony Bellew joined Three UK and Chelsea Football Club to take part in the ConnectWith Series. You can watch it on YouTube here.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Tony Bellew, Boxing, Spotlight, Nate Diaz, Jake Paul