Sometimes there are boxing bouts that raise eyebrows, leaving viewers guessing with eager anticipation how things might pan out. The encounter between Jake Paul and Ben Askren is one of those fights, scheduled to take place on April 17 in Atlanta, Georgia. On one hand, we have a YouTube celebrity who decided to take up boxing. Past experience for this Jake Paul includes performing as a rapper and actor, rather than trading blows in the ring, yet his first two professional bouts have ended with victories. Nevertheless, people are intrigued to see how far his career can go.
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Looking at the latest Ben Askren vs Jake Paul betting odds, this is one fight that even online bookmakers are finding difficult to call. As the bout gets closer, the difference is so narrow: Jake Paul is priced as -138 favorite, while Ben Askren’s odds sit at a nice even 100. There could be a number of important factors at play here, not least oddsmakers and punters alike taking a closer look at what each fighter has to offer. This will be just the third bout in a fledgling yet much-publicized boxing career for Jake Paul, whereas, by comparison, Ben Askren has never participated in a boxing match. The first professional bout for Jake Paul was actually against another YouTube celebrity, on a fight card that co-featured Demetrius Andrade against Luke Keeler in December 2019. Held in Miami, Florida, Jake Paul beat AnEsonGib via TKO after just over two minutes of the first round.
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Next came the second bout for Jake Paul against Nate Robinson, a former professional basketball player in the NBA, rather than another professional boxer. Winning via knockout in the second round, that fight was part of the Mike Tyson versus Roy Jones Jr. exhibition in July 2020. By comparison, although he has never participated in a professional boxing event before, 36-year-old Ben Askren does boast a wealth of wrestling and MMA experience. He was part of the US Olympic wrestling team, having starred in the sport at college level in America, winning the NCAA Championship twice and various amateur wrestling titles.
This eventually led Ben Askren to embark upon a professional MMA career, featuring in Bellator and One FC, where he amassed an exceptional unbeaten record of 19 fights. However, after winning his UFC debut against Robbie Lawler in March 2019, Ben Askren was destroyed by Jorge Masvidal after just five seconds at UFC 239, thanks to a flying knee knockout.
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The second UFC bout against Demian Maia fared little better when Ben Askren was defeated in the third round. Since then, he hasn’t fought professionally in any competition. Known more for his wrestling and grappling style, questions have been raised about whether he can actually box. That said, Ben Askren has worked with an excellent boxing coach ahead of this debut. Some believe that Jake Paul has this one in the bag, while others insist that Ben Askren will be no pushover, despite the lack of punching skills. Either way, this promises to be an entertaining duel between two fighters with plenty to prove, before a huge online audience of millions expected to tune in for the event.