On Friday, August 27 in the midst of promoting his highly-anticipated bout with Tyron Woodley, YouTube star-turned-boxer Jake Paul was asked who he would choose if he could fight any NFL player. Paul, a 24-year-old Westlake, Ohio native, said he would tangle with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
“Go Browns,” he added, before punctuating his answer by giving a thumbs down to the Steelers.
Paul and Smith-Schuster Are … Friendly?!?
JuJu Smith-Schuster is certainly aware of Jake Paul; he was ringside when Paul made his professional boxing debut against fellow YouTube star AnEsonGib on Jan. 30, 2020, winning in a first-round TKO.
The pair have also done media together. Here he is coaching Smith-Schuster on how to throw a punch:
(As you can see, Smith-Schuster took pretty well to the coaching and dramatically improved his punching power with just one tip.)
Paul also taunted Smith-Schuster on social media during Pittsburgh’s Jan. 2021 playoff loss to the Browns. When the game was 28-0 in the first quarter, Paul’s message was:
@Aye JuJu, you been on the field yet?
It’s also perhaps worth noting that Smith-Schuster has absorbed blows from a professional boxer in the not-so-distant past. In early March of this year, he took the “body shot challenge” from Ryan Garcia, a lightweight/super featherweight from California. In the video, Smith-Schuster (wearing protective gear, of course) is seen taking a series of 18 lefts and three rights from Garcia before he finally crumples to the ground.
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Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley
As for this weekend’s match, Paul will be fighting former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley on Sunday night (8 p.m. ET, Showtime PPV).
Paul has a 3-0 record as a professional boxer, including a victory over retired NBA guard Nate Robinson, which ended with a one-punch KO that knocked Robinson out cold in the second round.
Then in April, it took him less than two minutes to knock out former UFC fighter Ben Askren.
Now he’ll go against the most dangerous opponent of his surprising young career, as Woodley is an accomplished combat sports champion, albeit now 39 years old.
Smith-Schuster Will Be a Free Agent in 2022
As for Smith-Schuster, he’s no doubt focused on preparing for the start of the 2021 season. The 24-year-old wideout is working on a one-year, $8 million contract this year, in hopes that he’ll have a monster season and be able to cash in with a much more lucrative deal—either with the Steelers or elsewhere—next spring.
In March, the former second-round pick (USC) was courted by the Baltimore Ravens and the Philadelphia Eagles, but decided to remain with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger & Co.
Thus far in his career, Smith-Schuster has produced 308 receptions for 3,726 yards (12.1 ypc) and 26 touchdowns. He also has one carry for 13 yards, and when he was a rookie, he had nine kickoff returns for 240 yards, including a 96-yard touchdown return.
Smith-Schuster was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2018, when he produced 111 receptions for 1,426 yards and seven touchdown catches, including a 97-yard catch and run against the Denver Broncos.
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