Jake Paul provoked a few chuckles when he compared himself to Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather in August even for his fourth fight. But the controversial YouTuber turned boxer may have one last laugh: Even if his fists never match his mouth, his salary is already one of the sport’s biggest stars.
Forbes estimates that Paul took in a total of $40 million pre-tax from his three boxing wins in 2021, bringing his record total to 5-0. With another $5 million from his other endeavors, including his videos, Paul comes in at number 2 on the list of the highest paid YouTube stars for 2021 and returns on the list for the first time since 2018.
That $45 million total would have put him at number 20 last year Forbes list of the world’s highest-paid athletes, before the only boxer to crack the top 50 of that ranking, Canelo Alvarez, who finished in 48th place with $34 million. It would also have pushed him past established sports stars like Phil Mickelson ($41 million) and Novak Djokovic ($34.5 million).
It’s a turning point for Paul, who turns 25 next week. In early 2018, YouTube demonstrated his channel amid backlash to a video his older brother Logan had filmed in a “suicide forest” in Japan. He was no longer monetizing the ads that played on his videos and with brands failing him, Paul was devastated.
The channel is again generating ad revenue and has up to 20.4 million subscribers, but it continues to bring controversy to court. The FBI raided his home in August 2020 after a video showed him in a shopping center while it was being looted (he was not charged), and among many incendiary comments over the years, he called Covid-19 a “hoax” in a November 2020 interview with the Daily Beast. Most seriously, he was accused of sexual assault by TikTok personality Justine Paradise in April; Paul has strongly denied the allegation.
None of that has affected his burgeoning boxing career.
Paul entered 2021 with two spells to his name: 2020 matchups with YouTuber AnEsonGib and 1-foot-9 former NBA player Nate Robinson. He brought tougher competition to his follow-ups, putting his six-foot-long, 190-pound frame to the test. In April, he defeated former MMA fighter Ben Askren. He defeated UFC’s Tyron Woodley in August. And when boxer Tommy Fury withdrew from a scheduled fight due to a chest infection and rib injury, Paul faced Woodley again in December, this time knocking him out.
The last fight was a commercial disappointment, Reportedly only place 65,000 pay-per-view purchases through cable and satellite TV providers (although Paul pushed back against those numbers and suggested as a point of comparison that his previous fight had sold 500,000 PPVs). But even if he struggles to secure the same rates for future fights, he has other revenue streams he can count on, including NFTs, merchandise through his online store, and short-term deals with brands that included BoohooMan and DraftKings last year. . He also has his own boxing promotion company, Most Valuable Promotions. And there’s still the YouTube channel, of course, as he re-establishes himself among the platform’s elite with videos now largely focusing on his boxing.
Justin Birnbaum reporting contributed.