Though Jake Paul initially rose to fame on the heels of his brother Logan Paul as an internet personality and vlogger on Vine and YouTube, he is these days just as well known for his high-profile boxing matches. His first fight was on the undercard of “the biggest amateur boxing match in history,” Logan Paul v KSI, where he defeated KSI’s brother Deji via TKO in the 5th round.
He then decided to turn professional and knocked out another fellow YouTuber, AnEsonGib, in the first round on the co-feature of pro fight card topped by Andrade v Keeler. After this, he truly entered the world of big-time boxing, being featured on the Tyson v Jones Jr undercard.
He went up against basketball player Nate Robinson and kayoed him in the second round.
The combination of his internet-based starpower and quick finish KOs has given him a unique position and platform from which to compete at higher levels of boxing.
Another MMA star decides to swap gloves
After the success of Connor McGregor’s boxing match against Floyd Mayweather, it seems the door has opened for further crossovers. The high profile of Jake Paul enticed MMA veteran Ben Askren to take up the challenge and represent MMA in the boxing ring.
A multiple-time Bellator and ONE Welterweight champion, Askren had announced his retirement from MMA in November 2019 after losing his last two fights in the UFC. He had been undefeated before that, giving him a professional record of 19-2-1.
Despite his vast experience in the Octagon, Askren had come in as a slight underdog (+180) against the younger Jake Paul when the fight was originally announced. This may have been due to the higher profile of the YouTube star compelling the oddsmakers. Then, the odds tightened and they were just under even odds for each.
Even though Askren wasn't known for his striking (6 of his 19 wins were via KO), fans may have thought his experience in being on big deal events would give him a significant advantage.
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Bad blood and showmanship combine to add more interest
Predictably, Askren played up his own combat sports pedigree while taking the opportunity to look down on Paul’s. When the fight was announced, he said, “I’m going to make a bunch of money to beat up a guy who is pretending to be an athlete…Quite frankly, I’m impressed that you’ve deluded yourself into thinking that you’re actually a fighter … that beating up another YouTuber and beating up a boxer who has never been in the ring before makes you somehow good at boxing.”
There were further shenanigans at the press conference, as one might expect from one being held by organized Triller, the video platform backed by Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne. Paul’s riposte was to say that he represented YouTubers and boxers, while Askren only represented MMA, and wouldn’t be able to hold up to him in the boxing ring.