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Logan Paul’s win over Rey Mysterio at the 2023 Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia could prove to be the end of crossover boxing matches as we know them. The YouTuber stated that he no longer intends to take part in the pay-per-view spectacles. Paul was the pioneer for these exhibition matches but with the 28-year-old set to turn his back on them and rather focus on defending his recently won United States Championship, the truth is that interest in these crossover bouts is likely to wane.
Little betting coverage over upcoming crossover bouts
You can already get a sense of the decline in popularity given that if you look at the latest boxing betting odds for upcoming bouts in 2023, you won’t see any prices listed for crossover matches. It’s a telling development as Jake Paul is set to fight on the 15th of December but, as things stand, very few bookmakers are prepared to offer odds on the YouTuber-turned-boxer's fight.
Now, when you consider that prices are being provided for the relatively unknown showdown between Naoya Inoue and Marlon Tapales on the 26th of December with the former at 1/20 to win, you can’t help but feel that the end could be near for these matches between YouTubers and professional fighters of yesteryear.
Admittedly, it always felt like the concept of a YouTuber fighting an ageing star had a sell-by date given that once you had watched one of these matches, you had, in all likelihood, seen them all. Indeed, they more or less all followed the same trend where the YouTuber’s youth proved too much for a fighter who has long since been retired. In other words, the novelty quickly wore off with the outcome a foregone conclusion.
This seems to be the verdict Paul has also reached after stating there was no money left in the idea. Essentially, the game is well and truly up when the main protagonists decide that this once unique concept has run out of road.
Paul ditches boxing to become wrestling world champion
Boxing’s loss, however, will be wrestling’s gain with Paul set to commit more of his time to the WWE.
While this will initially involve more appearances on SmackDown and Raw in a bid to defend his US Championship for as long as possible, the end goal for Paul will be another shot at the WWE Championship.
The 28-year-old fought Roman Reigns for the belt during the 2022 Crown Jewel showdown and while he may have lost, their 26-minute match in Riyadh is now regarded as a classic after Paul produced a five-star frog splash from the top rope as Reigns lay stranded on a ringside table.
Whether Reigns will hang on to the WWE Championship long enough for Paul to earn a thrilling rematch with him remains to be seen. But one way or another, the YouTuber will surely be in the running to win the title now that he's going to dedicate his time to wrestling. It may not happen straight away, but a man as ambitious as Paul wouldn't be making such a significant career change without a plan in mind.
Yes, it may be the end for crossover boxing but it is just the beginning for Paul in the WWE as he sets his sights on becoming the company’s biggest star.