Sean O’Malley believes Ben Askren is a must-win fight for Jake Paul, claiming that the YouTube star has to beat ‘Funky’ to prove his worth in the boxing ring.
O’Malley doesn’t think it’s going to be the most technical matchup but ‘Suga’ is curious to see how Paul performs against an athlete of Askren’s caliber who, despite not having any professional boxing experience, has proven himself time and time again in the world of combat sports.
“There’s not a lot of fights that excite me, and this ain’t gonna be the best boxing fight,” O’Malley told reporters at the UFC 260 media day on Wednesday (h/t MMA Junkie’s Farah Hannoun and John Morgan). “This isn’t gonna be like a good, technical boxing fight, but I’m excited. I’m excited for that fight. I’m gonna watch it. I’m gonna be excited fight week. I’m gonna watch if they have any little Embeddeds or whatever they’re putting out. I’m watching.
“I wanna see that fight. I don’t know, Ben vs. Jake, it’s exciting. It’s gonna be a sloppy, sloppy fight. Ben’s gonna make it sloppy, which is good for him. Jake, he looks like he’s training hard. He’s young, he’s athletic, so if he doesn’t beat Ben Askren, we’ll see where he goes from there. He has to beat Ben to show he’s a legitimate boxer.”
O’Malley, who returns to the cage tomorrow to take on Thomas Almeida at UFC 260, is even picking Paul to win despite the gulf in experience between the two fighters.
“I wanna say Jake because he’s gonna be a better boxer,” O’Malley said. “Ben’s such a good competitor – it’s not gonna be a good boxing fight. It’s gonna be grueling. God, I hope Jake doesn’t come in there and try to put his lights out in the first round, two rounds. He’s gonna gas out and Ben’s gonna be there.
“Ben’s gonna be there all eight rounds. I don’t think Ben’s gonna gas. I think if Jake comes out calm, stays calm fight week, stays calm fight day, doesn’t get too excited and just blow his load the first couple of rounds, I think he can outbox him. If he stays behind his jab and doesn’t let Ben do what Ben wants to do, I think Jake could get the job done.”
Askren vs. Paul is scheduled to take place on April 17 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Atlanta while UFC 260, which features O’Malley vs. Almeida on the main card, takes place Saturday, March 27 at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas.