Jake Paul seems really annoying.
He was a “Youtube star,” whatever the hell that means, and now he’s apparently serious about a boxing career. He knocked out Nate Robinson a while back and called out Conor McGregor, who would wipe the floor with him in 10 seconds.
Now Paul has lined up what is actually a really intriguing fight. He’s going to box retired MMA fighter Ben Askren:
Breaking: Internet personality turned pro boxer Jake Paul will fight former UFC fighter Ben Askren in an eight-round pro boxing match on April 17, Triller Founder Ryan Kavanaugh told @arielhelwani.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 26, 2021
Askren called it quits about a year ago, in his mid-thirties. He’s a former Bellator and ONE Welterweight champion who was 18-0 when he joined the UFC in 2019. He started with a controversial win over Robbie Lawler, then ended up on the receiving end of the most famous knockout of all time, when Jorge Masvidal delivered a flying knee that ended their fight in five seconds. He came back with a loss to Demian Maia and then retired from there.
On paper, it seems like a totally lopsided fight. Jake Paul against a former MMA guy?
Oddly enough, the boxing-only element of the matchup makes this somewhat interesting. Askren does have a number of TKOs on his resume, but he is not a boxer. Not even close. He was an elite wrestler at his peak, a former NCAA champion who represented the United States at the 2008 Olympics. His TKO wins came from ground and pound, where he’d just body opponents to the mat and then lay the smack down. He was not a striker.
Paul may seem like a joke, but the guy is 24 years old and athletic. He’s an adrenaline junkie with a high school sports background. He’s 5’10” and about 200 pounds, whereas Askren fought at 170 in UFC and 185 in Asia. Paul clobbered Robinson pretty handily and could very easily stand and trade with a guy who is not at all a boxer. If the fight was mixed martial arts, however, he’d be submitted in the first round. Askren would wrap him up and send him to the Philly pretzel factory.
Dunno why, but I’m oddly intrigued by this fight. Something must be wrong with me.
Trivia: Ben Askren won the Bellator Welterweight title at Philadelphia’s Liacouras Center back in 2010. Kensington native Eddie Alvarez headlined the card.