It’s no longer just talk – an eight-round boxing match between retired MMA fighter Ben Askren and YouTube superstar Jake Paul is now official for April 17th on pay-per-view.
Paul had called out several fighters in recent weeks, but had homed in on Askren in particular and ‘Funky’ has now risen to the challenge.
“It’s official,” Paul confirmed on social media. “Representing the UFC, Mr. Napoleon Dynamite look-alike Ben Askren finally accepted the fight. He is a two-time NCAA champion, a world champion in two different global mixed martial arts organizations and has less losses on his record than Conor McGregor, yet, I’m still going to knock him out faster than Masvidal did.
“Some guys think because they throw punches they know how to box. I shocked the world when I [knocked out] an NBA superstar athlete, but some people still complained that he’s not a real fighter.
“So now I’m giving the people what they want by taking on a real fighter.
“After I add Ben to my knockout meme collection, what can anybody say? April 17th. 82 days. The countdown starts now. Be ready.”
Askren kept his response to the news short and sweet.
“It’s cute that Jake thinks he is a real fighter,” Askren wrote. “I’m gonna beat him up April 17.”
I must confess that match-ups like this make me cringe. It’s no accident that Paul targeted Askren as the former ONE FC and Bellator champ is a terrific grappler, but it’s no great secret that his striking is sub-par to say the least.
Then there’s also the fact that he retired from the sport due to hip issues after failing to live up to his previous accomplishments in the sport after joining the UFC, leading to a humiliating 5 second KO loss against Jorge Masvidal and then being tapped out by Damien Maia.
As such, while I’d be happy to watch Askren challenge all-comers in a wrestling or submission-grappling match, I’m in no hurry to see him competing in boxing, regardless of the opponent.