YouTuber turned boxer Jake Paul will take on his most formidable foe to date when he locks horns with former Bellator and ONE FC welterweight champion Ben Askren in an eight-round boxing match on April 17.
Although Askren has a wealth of combat sports experience under his belt — including two NCAA wrestling national championships — former IBF and WBA welterweight boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi doesn’t think ‘Funky’ belongs anywhere near a boxing ring following his five-second knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal in 2019.
Malignaggi says Askren lost the right to compete after being subjected to one of the most humiliating losses in combat sports history at UFC 239.
“He was a great wrestler from what I hear,” Malignaggi said of Askren on The Schmozone podcast (h/t Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie). “But his striking was, from what I’ve seen, some of the most pitiful in combat sports, and you’re forcing him to use what he’s not good at. So you can technically call him a fighter. Personally, me, anytime you get knocked out in less than five seconds in any fight, you lose the ability to call yourself a fighter ever again. So I don’t think Ben Askren can ever call himself a fighter ever again – even if you fight.
“You may be somebody that fights, but you’re technically not a ‘fighter’ anymore because no fighter is getting knocked out in five seconds or less like he did. Jake Paul went from YouTuber, to ex-pro athlete to fighting somebody that fights. He’s yet to fight a fighter, but it’s progression.”
Askren will be making his professional boxing debut against Paul while the latter is 2-0 against unranked competition.
Askren vs. Paul takes place on April 27 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.