Connecting the dots!
The Jake Paul-Ben Askren “boxing match” DOES have its anomalies, so it’s understandable that this claim is being made (including by professional fighters). The fight was short. Ben’s hands were down. The ref appears to have stopped it too early. Ben didn’t protest like a world-class athlete that showed up to compete and win. That “slap fight” with Rick Flair as a ‘referee’ was clearly fake. Ben was smiling on his way out. How could Jake Paul knock him out when Robbie Lawler, with his 4-oz gloves, couldn’t do it? The list goes on and on.
It’s hard NOT to go down the conspiracy spiral and imagine that all of these factors point to the fight being fixed, or even rehearsed.
On the other hand…
However, a more likely scenario is that Jake Paul is simply a better boxer than is generally known (we’ll know his actual skill level once we see him fight someone who can box), and Ben Askren seemed far less prepared than what was expected (possibly because this wasn’t that important to him as far as his current priorities go, and his bad hip may have prevented him from serious training, and he didn’t engage in anything remotely resembling a real fight camp).
Was the ref stoppage illegitimate? I don’t think so. For one, keep in mind this wasn’t a championship fight title. They weren’t fighting for a UFC or WBF title where a ref may allow the fight to go on longer than in a random fight. And Askren did appear to be wobbly. Why didn’t Askren protest more or seem upset? This puzzles me as well but it’s likely he didn’t care so much about this particular event and leaving to be with his family didn’t seem like a bad option, compared to getting knocked around a bit more in an event where he was already making a cool half-mil.
How can Jake Paul KO him like that when Robbie Lawler couldn’t?
Let’s consider the possibility that Jake Paul simply has more power than we realize. Also, a punch from a boxer (who doesn’t have to worry about leg kicks or takedowns) is different than a punch from an MMA fighter who isn’t going to sit on their punches the same way, given the threat of kicks and takedowns.
Why was Ben Askren Smiling after he Lost?
Probably because he just made half a million dollars (likely a bit more) and was now going back to doing the things he prefers (coaching wrestling, podcasting about wrestling, and dabbling with cryptocurrencies). He made it clear all along that this wouldn’t affect his life one way or the other. He’s already won at life, and he clearly doesn’t seem to be the type who cares what “people on the internet” will think and say.
Let me be clear: I was rooting for Ben and HOPING he could pull this off (perhaps by tying him up, smothering his punches, and just using his wrestling overall..,wearing him down, and then punishing him). But it didn’t happen.
I’m interested in seeing if Jake Paul is going to be serious in pursuing boxing, or if he’s just pulling an Andy Kauffman on all of us.