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Jake Paul better rethink Canelo Alvarez after a split-decision against Tyron Woodley

Paul (right) and Tyron Woodley. Photo by Amanda Westcott/ Showtime
Fighters Network

It was supposed to be a celebrated homecoming. It turned into a boofest. By the second round of the hyped Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley boxing match, the announced crowd of 16,000 that filled Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Sunday night were booing the fighters.

Paul (4-0, 3 knockouts) remained undefeated, though it’s the first time he went the distance in the YouTuber’s budding boxing career, beating Woodley by eight-round, split-decision in their cruiserweight bout, winning the scorecards of Dana DePaolo (78-74) and Jaime Garayua (77-75), while judge Phil Rogers scored it for Woodley, 77-75.

A week ago, sort of tongue-in-cheek, Paul, 24, from nearby Westlake, Ohio, who calls Cleveland home, had announced a wish list that included The Ring and the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter Canelo Alvarez.

He may need to reconsider after struggling with a 39-year-old former MMA fighter who was boxing for the first time after losing his previous four UFC fights.

“He’s a tough opponent,” Paul told the crowd about Woodley during his in-ring post-fight interview. “He’s been boxing, fighting, whatever you wanna call it, for several years. I’ve been doing this for three years. It was a tougher fight than I expected. My legs felt weird in the locker room. I don’t know what was wrong with me, but he’s a tough opponent. All respect to Tyron. You know, he’s a Hall-of-Famer. He put up a good fight. He’s a good boxer. He came in shape. I have nothing but respect for him. There was a lot of s–t talk back and forth.”

CompuBox stats showed Paul landed 71/207 total punches, to Woodley’s 52/163. It also showed Woodley connected on more power punches 41/115 to Paul’s 35/85, though Paul landed more jabs 36/122 to Woodley’s 11/48.

If anyone came out a winner, it may have been Woodley, who held up well, considering he was supposed to be splashed in his pro debut by the taller, bigger, younger Paul. Woodley, apparently, defied what the expectation was. Woodley did think he won, and he had an argument.

“I feel like I won the fight,” Woodley said. “I feel like Jake’s a great opponent. I didn’t expect him to go down. That’s why I came in great shape, because I knew he could take a punch. But the fact that one judge gave me two rounds is laughable. No disrespect, but f–k the [Tommy] Fury fight. We need to run that back. Me and Jake need to run that back.”

Otherwise, the exhibition served as a blatant portrait of where Paul is in his development as a novice boxer and how much further he needs to go if he ever thinks he would ever step into the ring with the likes of a Canelo Alvarez, who might have beaten down both Paul and Woodley in the same ring Sunday night.

Amanda Serrano led the cast of real fighters that looked impressive Sunday night on the Paul-Woodley undercard (Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime).

Now, that may not have garnered the kind of boos Paul-Woodley did.

As for the real fighters on the card, Amanda Serrano (41-1-1, 30 KOs) looked incredibly impressive in a 10-round unanimous decision over the hesitant WBC junior featherweight titlist Yamileth Mercado (18-3, 5 KOs) to retain the WBC and WBO featherweight titles.

Serrano, 32, The Ring’s No. 3 pound-for-pound rated fighter, made it apparent she’s on a collision course with The Ring’s No. 1 pound-for-pound champ Katie Taylor.

Montana Love pulled off a shocker by stopping Ivan Baranchyk in seven (Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime).

In a semi-shocker, light-fisted Montana Love (16-0, 8 KOs) stopped Ivan Baranchyk (20-3, 13 KOs) in seven rounds. It marked the second-straight stoppage loss for Baranchyk, who was one half of the universal 2020 Fight of the Year with Jose Zepeda. Baranchyk, 28, may need to rethink about his future in the sport.

Charles Conwell, the 23-year-old 2016 Olympian, stopped Juan Carlos Rubio (18-1, 9 KOs) at 2:49 of the third round of a scheduled 10-round junior middleweight bout. Conwell (16-0, 12 KOs) knocked down the overmatched Rubio in the second.

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/ since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.