Multiple-organization MMA champion Ben Askren is set to face YouTube sensation Jake Paul in an eight-round professional boxing bout on April 17th.
Paul, who is 2-0 as a pro boxer, is coming off a second-round knockout victory against NBA superstar Nate Robinson in November last year.
In the past couple of months, the 24-year-old has called out top MMA fighters, including UFC royalty Conor McGregor, Jorge Masvidal, Dillon Danis, Michael Bisping, and Ben Askren, who was the most willing out of all the aforementioned athletes to throw hands with the boxing newbie.
Despite having competed in wrestling and MMA circuits for over two decades, Askren is the underdog against Paul, and that has mainly to do with the fact that he lacks striking prowess.
However, that doesn’t stop him from believing that he will knock his opponent out on the night. He even predicted the round in which he would finish Paul.
7th round TKO. Book it. @triller
— Funky (@Benaskren) January 27, 2021
Paul isn’t taking Askren’s threats seriously, nonetheless, as he believes he has the skills to ‘destroy’ MMA fighters inside a boxing ring.
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) January 27, 2021
Many believe that Jake Paul is cherry-picking grapplers, like Askren and Dillon Danis, because he knows he has a better chance of beating them.
Paul isn’t a bad boxer by any means. In fact, not only does he train with legitimate professional boxers, but both himself and his brother, Logan Paul, come from a wrestling background too. So they can definitely fight.
Even Joe Rogan recognizes the legitimacy of Paul’s skill set.
Ben Askren vs Jake Paul Breakdown
Askren is a former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight titleholder. He is a very popular name and has made a career out of dominating people on the mat. But his striking is anything but elite.
He was 19-0 before he was eventually knocked out in five seconds by Jorge Masvidal in his second UFC fight. Then, against Demian Maia at UFC Singapore in 2019, he looked very mediocre when he was forced to stay on his feet because Maia was able to stuff his takedowns.
Ben is not a technically gifted striker, as he is slow, sloppy and he is definitely not getting any better, especially after the hip surgery he had last year. ‘Funky’ does have seven knockout wins to his name in his MMA career, but his wrestling threat allowed him liberties inside the cage as his opponents were always fearing a takedown. He won’t have the same advantage in the boxing ring.
He will also be returning after a lengthy lay-off, so it’s very possible that he would not be in his best shape.
On the other hand, Paul is younger, more explosive, and has the one-punch knockout power, something his opponent lacks. He is also always chasing a knockout, so Ben would have to be very patient early on in the fight. Also, as mentioned before, he has been training with legitimate boxers for several years now, which only means he’ll be better prepared in comparison to Askren in April.
At the end of the day, Ben Askren will have his work cut out when he enters the ring with Jake Paul, who has a massive opportunity to add a sizeable name to his resume.
The positive for Askren, however, is that he is going to make a lot of money.
Who do you think wins the boxing bout between Ben Askren and Jake Paul on April 17th?
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