Five years removed from his final NBA game, and seven from his last full season, former Celtics guard Nate Robinson was the runaway highlight of the undercard of the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. boxing exhibition on Saturday night.
It was not for the reasons the 36-year-old hoped.
Robinson was knocked cold by 23-year-old social media star Jake Paul in the second round of their scheduled six-round cruiserweight fight, crashing face-first into the canvas following a right cross. It was the third time Paul knocked down Robinson, the diminutive NBA star and three-time slam dunk contest champion thoroughly routed in his pro boxing debut.
“He was better than I expected,” said Paul, a veteran of multiple fights against fellow online influencers, on the pay-per-view broadcast. “I wanted to say thank you to Nate. ... It takes a lot of [expletive] to step in the ring and I don’t want to take anything away from that.”
Robinson called out Paul in May following the latter’s victorious pro debut, and declared he “wanted to show that I’m a world class athlete. I played college football, played in the NBA for 11 years, and I’m excited for this venture into the sport of boxing.” He tweeted Saturday afternoon that he was “fighting for my brothers in the NBA, athletes across the world, and most importantly my children.”
Earlier in the undercard, former two-division champion Badou Jack earned a unanimous eight-round decision over the previously undefeated Blake McKernan. The star attraction, a meeting between the 54-year-old Tyson — 15 years removed from his shock loss to Kevin McBride — and 51-year-old Jones Jr., who last fought in 2018, ended in a draw.