- Former ONE Championship titleholder Ben Askren recently accepted a boxing match against the YouTube star Jake Paul.
- Paul is coming off a sensational knockout win over former NBA star Nate Robinson in the Tyson-Jones undercard.
- The YouTube star is currently listed as a -200 betting favorite over Funky Ben
It seems like Jake Paul’s sensational knockout win over former NBA Slam Dunk king Nate Robinson at the Tyson vs Jones undercard has caught the eyes of the oddsmakers. That’s because online sportsbooks are currently listing the YouTube star as the odds on favorite in a potential boxing match against former MMA champion Ben Askren.
According to SportsBetting.ag, the 23-year old Paul is a solid -200 betting favorite against Askren who came back at +160 when the betting lines first opened. That means that a $100 bet on Paul would net only $50 while a wager of the same amount on Funky Ben would yield $160.
BetOnline was kinder to Funky Ben but still, the online betmaker had Jake Paul as favorite:
Jake Paul opens up as a favorite in the rumored boxing match with Ben Askren:
Jake Paul -180 (5/9)
Ben Askren +150 (3/2)
(odds via @betonline_ag) ?
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) December 23, 2020
But is Jake Paul really the man to beat in this matchup?
A Boxing Match
. @jakepaul doesn’t trust many in the media to spread the word…. I’m was told “Ben then Dillion.” pic.twitter.com/evn9WdznoA
— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) December 22, 2020
First of all, this proposed bout is a boxing match, not an MMA contest. So when you talk about a boxing match, Jake Paul is the one who has experience, well sort of. The Cleveland, Ohio native is 2-0 with two knockouts.
Nicknamed the “Problem Child”, Paul knocked out fellow YouTube star AnEsonGib inside one round in his boxing debut before decimating Robinson last November 28. There’s nothing impressive with that really, but you can say the same thing about Ben Askren’s boxing or the lack thereof.
Jake Paul better not underestimate Ben Askren or its lights out from one of these: pic.twitter.com/uFXvWQdhvj
— MacMally? (@MacMallyMMA) December 22, 2020
Ben Askren just uppercut Jake Paul and sent him straight to the shadow realm
React with a gif pic.twitter.com/yPi0lrXdNM
— Connoisseur of Combat (@ConOfCombat) December 23, 2020
Unlike Paul, Askren has never boxed before. Sure, he’s an MMA fighter and the sport involves striking and grappling. Funky Ben’s offensive striking wasn’t really bad. He averaged 3.64 significant strikes landed per minute at a 49% striking accuracy. But his striking defense was atrocious at 36% and we know that defense is important in boxing. Just ask Nate Robinson.
A World Class Athlete
Yes @jakepaul I accept. See you March 28. pic.twitter.com/eJ6EUXwTwT
— Funky (@Benaskren) December 23, 2020
While Askren is no boxer and doesn’t have boxing background, he is a former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight champion. Before transitioning to MMA, Funky Ben was a two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion, an Olympic Wrestler, and Pan-American Champion in freestyle wrestling. But outside the experience fighting in big fights, none of those suggest that he can box.
In his call-out acceptance speech, Askren called himself a world class athlete who doesn’t need experience whatsoever in boxing to beat Paul whom he called a “wannabe athlete”. While he’s correct in calling himself a world class athlete, Nate Robinson could claim the same thing. Whether Jakes Paul is a “wannabe athlete” or not, he has been training in boxing in the last couple of years.
Some are predicting that this potential bout is going to end up like the other Jake Paul fights. Paul chooses his opponents well, picking well-known but inexperienced boxing opponents. If this were an MMA bout, no question Ben Askren would be the odds on favorite, by a mile. But Askren accepted a fight where he can’t use his best skill set and that could be big trouble for him. Jake Paul may be over his head about being a boxer and beating the likes of Conor McGregor but he’s a smart kid who picks his opponents well so that he can have a next fight. Remember that Ben Askren is 36 years old and is coming off a hip surgery.