There was a big difference between Paul's first two victories inside the ropes and his third. At first, Paul agreed to fights with other nontraditional opponents. In January 2020 he defeated fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib, and last November at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, he knocked out former NBA star Nate Robinson in the second round.
But Ben Askren was no celebrity opponent -- he actually made a career as an MMA fighter, retiring with a 19-2-1 record before accepting the fight with Paul. To be fair, Askren had never fought specifically in a boxing match and was more skilled as a wrestler, but his background lent legitimacy to the match.
So when Paul won, it seemed many fighters felt there was an impostor on their turf.
"Hey @triller send me a contract and I will happily knock this f*cker out in one round," former UFC champion B.J. Penn tweeted in response to Paul's gloating celebration tweet.
"Enjoy saying you are a fighter for another day," wrote another UFC champ, Tyron Woodley. "Try that sh*t against me i'm catching a body @jakepaul And you mob with h*es. I wouldn't walk into a pillow fight with them."
Another former basketball pro, Kendall Gill, also challenged Paul after his victory Saturday.