Hardcore boxing fans may not like it, but YouTubers and celebrities fighting is a big deal now and the odds are that the latest instalment – Jake Paul vs MMA fighter Ben Askren on Saturday April 17, 2021 – will not be the last.
The pair topped a Triller pay-per-view card at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
It was the third fight Paul – who has a 20.3million YouTube following – has had in a boxing ring and he brings a 2-0 record to the table. His opponent – retired MMA star Askren – had a 19-2 record in UFC combat but had never boxed professionally.
The big fight was scheduled for eight rounds with a weight limit of between 185-190lbs (cruiserweight division), and topped a card which had plenty of “interest” among the supporting cast.
Throw in Snoop Dogg announcing (F and MF bombs all the way) and Oscar De La Hoya getting very excited about his own impending comeback, and it was essential viewing…
The main event didn’t last long at all as Jake padded his pro record to 3-0 with a first-round knockout of Askren.
Ben looked underprepared and flabby around the mid-section, and was ponderous to say the least as Jake tried to line up those trademark big shots.
The end when it came early in the bout was highlight-reel stuff, a cracking right hand depositing Askren on the canvas. He did beat the count but was clearly on wobbly legs and in no fit state to continue.
Betting odds: Who was favorite to win?
Jake Paul was a slight favorite going into the bout, but the odds were pretty tight.
Askren meanwhile had biggest odds of +160 (bet $100 to win $160) with BetMGM, Borgata Sports, BetAmerica and Resorts, while he was shortest at +138 (bet365). If you wanted to bet the fight ended in a draw, your best odds were +2000 with FanDuel.
Why you might ask was Jake Paul favorite here against somebody who has fought professionally in any combat discipline? Well Ben Askren may be a former MMA superstar, but he’s no boxer. He was also more renowned for his skill on the ground rather than his striking ability in the Octagon.
When did the fight start?
The pay-per-view broadcast on Triller started at 2100 ET on Saturday April 17 (1800 PT). The main event had ring walks between 0000 and 0100 ET on Sunday April 18.
Was Jake Paul vs Ben Askren on TV?
Jake Paul vs Ben Askren was another pay-per-view show from boxing newcomer Triller. The broadcast cost $49.99 for U.S. viewers and was distributed by FITE TV (recently acquired by Triller).
Jake was guaranteed $690,000 for his night’s work with Askren down for $500,000. But both men are likely to earn significantly more once a share of the pay-per-view revenues is factored in. Jake claimed he earned $10million for knocking out Nate Robinson late last year.
What is Triller?
Triller is a social media platform headed up by 46-year-old Ryan Kavanaugh, the former founder and CEO of billion-dollar film company Relativity Media.
Kavanaugh and Triller have made waves in boxing recently, notably when driving that incredible pay-per-view for Tyson vs Jones Jr with Jake Paul on the undercard.
The platform is about to get even more boxing notoriety after beating Bob Arum’s Top Rank and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom in the purse bid to stage and broadcast Teofimo Lopez’s upcoming first defence os his world lightweight titles against Aussie George Kambosos.
Triller will also apparently host the comeback of ‘Golden Boy’ and former 10-time world boxing champion De La Hoya in July. That one is against an opponent yet to be named. De La Hoya is now 48, and has not fought professionally since suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of Manny Pacquiao in 2008.
Jake Paul record
According to boxing stats bible Boxrec, Jake Paul had a record of 2-0 as he heads into this showdown with Ben Askren. Two wins and no defeats, with both of those victories coming inside distance.
Jake was born in Cleveland, Ohio but now lives in the upmarket L.A locale of Calabasas, made famous by none other than the Kardashian family. He stands 6ft 1ins tall (1.85m) and has a reach of 76 ins (1.93m).
His boxing debut came in January 2020 against fellow YouTuber Ali Eson Gib. The bout took place in Miami and Jake prevailed by first-round knockout after hammering his opponent to the canvas three times.
Next time out, on November 28, 2020, Jake fought on the undercard of the Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr exhibition match at Staples Center in Los Angeles. His opponent was former NBA star Nate Robinson. Jake recorded a highlight-reel second-round knockout to rise to 2-0..
With his huge following, and the interest in Tyson’s ring return, the pay-per-view drew a ridiculous 1.6million buys for Triller. It is no wonder there is now more to come.
In recent months Jake has been linked with a massive showdown with UFC star Conor McGregor. He has also called out Tommy Fury – brother of world heavyweight king Tyson Fury and a reality TV star from the hit show ‘Love Island’.
Jake’s brother and fellow YouTuber Logan Paul had earlier been a trailblazer for celebrities moving into boxin. He twice fought KSI, both times selling out major arenas.
The second bout KSI vs Logan Paul bout was another Staples Center sellout (in November 2019). It was again a big pay-per-view, this time for Eddie Hearn and DAZN. Elite world champion boxers such as Billy Joe Saunders were on the undercard.
It appears likely Logan will soon take on all-time boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr in another celebrity crossover event. They had been due to fight in February but the bout was cancelled. It is still expected to take place at some stage in the near future.
Ben Askren record
Ben Askren is a 36-year-old former MMA star who as already stated had an excellent 19-2 record in UFC fights. Prior to that he was welterweight champion in both Bellator and ONE Championship.
Askren, who was born in Iowa in 1984, was also an accomplished wrestler and even made the U.S. Olympic team. He stands 5ft 10ins tall (1.78m) and has a reach of 72ins (1.83m)
Askren has never fought professionally as a boxer yet, and the April 17 showdown with Paul will be his debut.
Ben retired from professional MMA competition in 2019, saying he needed a full hip replacement. He was though able to have an alternative surgical procedure and is now back in good shape.
The last time we saw Askren at the very top level in MMA was in July 2019 when he was knocked out inside a round by Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239.
Jake Paul vs Ben Askren betting picks
How do you bet on something which is completely unprecedented? With difficulty of course.
But we like a challenge at OddsCritic, and while Paul’s boxing career is limited we liked his chances of notching another victory here. The one thing we knew for sure is that he can hit hard and would be in shape.
Askren meanwhile was not noted for his striking ability during his MMA career, and we seriously doubted if he had the power to hurt Jake. He also retired from pro competition in 2019 with a serious hip problem. That may have been fixed, but would he really be ready for this?
We didn’t see it going the full eight-round distance so our advice was to take the -110 about Jake to win by KO, TKO or DQ. That is currently odds of -110 (bet $110 to win $100) with bet365. This was another winning pick for OddsCritic.
Jake Paul vs Ben Askren undercard
As ever, these celebrity crossover fights have a fair bit of pop to the undercard. It’s all about entertainment.
The Jake Paul vs Ben Askren undercard currently looked like this:
- Former world super-lightweight boxing champ Regis Prograis vs Ivan Redkach (a controversial win for Prograis)
- Former cruiserweight king Steve Cunningham defeated former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir on points
- English entrepreneur Joe Fournier (8-0) defeated reggaeton artist Reykon (0-0) by TKO
If that wasn’t enough, we also had a Slap Fighting exhibition match added to the undercard. U.S. champ Da Crazy Hawaiian and The Bear Man will slap the hell out of each other with The Nature Boy himself – Ric Flair – calling the action.