Jake Paul mocked Ben Askren for his record-setting, five-second knockout defeat to Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239.
Paul still admits that the former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight champ is by far the most credible opponent he’ll have faced in a boxing ring come Saturday night in Atlanta. The 24-year-old Paul has quickly knocked out two completely inexperienced opponents in his first two professional fights – social media influencer AnEsonGib in the first round and retired NBA point guard Nate Robinson in the second round.
The 36-year-old Askren will make his pro boxing debut against Paul, but he is an accomplished MMA fighter and was an elite-level Division I wrestler.
“This fight will give me a lot of credibility,” Paul said during a press conference recently. “You know, Ben’s 19-2, has less losses [in MMA] than [Conor] McGregor. Two-time NCAA Division I champ [for the University of Missouri]. Olympic wrestler. So, yeah, he’s a real fighter. And that’s why I wanted to do this fight, is to show the world like, ‘Yo, this real fighter’s getting in with Jake Paul and he’s gonna get KO’d in two rounds.’ ”
Handicappers have installed Paul as about a 2-1 favorite over Askren in the eight-round main event of a Triller Fight Club pay-per-view show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (9 p.m. ET; $49.99).
“I have such a chip on my shoulder,” Paul said. “The whole world wants to see Jake Paul lose this fight. And I love that. I love that so much.”
Though Paul predicted another quick knockout of Askren, the extremely confident cruiserweight hopes to show the boxing skills he has developed with his head trainer, BJ Flores, and the rest of their team.
“I haven’t even gotten to show my boxing ability in my last two fights because they’ve both been like four minutes … like seven minutes total,” Paul said. “So, you know, I’m actually excited to see if Ben’s gonna give me a little bit of a test and a little bit of a challenge because then people will see, ‘Oh, sh!t! This kid can do that? Oh, he has this in his arsenal? Oh, he’s been working on that?’ I haven’t even shown the world what I can do. That’s why this is fun, because I have the ace up my sleeve. And when you have that ace up your sleeve in life, it’s an exciting thing.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.