YouTube collides with MMA in a boxing match this Saturday evening, as Jake Paul takes on Ben Askren. Atlanta is the venue, and there will be many fascinated fans watching inside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and around the globe on pay-per-view possibly wondering “what on Earth is going on?”
The fact there are real boxing matches happening on the same card will probably escape the attention of many of the paying viewers, but if it potentially attracts more fans to the sport, can it be a bad thing? If the viewers paying are entertained, what's the harm?
The man attracting the viewers is Paul, the 24-year-old YouTube star, who heads to the ring for the third time in a Cruiserweight contest over eight rounds against Askren, the former UFC and Bellator MMA fighter. Askren, at 36, is making a late debut in this class of the fight game.
This fight was made after many back-and-forth exchanges between the pair on social media and now we get to see the real thing, for what it may be worth. It just goes to show you don't need a hall-of-fame matchmaker such as Teddy Brenner or Bruce Trampler to make money-spinning fights these days, although without them, the quality bar is set much lower. Having seen off fellow YouTuber Ali Eson Gib in one round, and former basketball star Nate Robinson in two, Jake Paul is looking to further his reputation by taking on a real fighter -- although not a boxer -- in Askren.
As far as the fight goes, Askren -- who was more of a wrestling style MMA fighter, winning many of his fights by submission -- could find it difficult against a fighter like Paul, who although inexperienced has been focusing his training at the boxing gym. Also concerning for Askren fans is that he has campaigned all his fighting career at a weight 20 pounds lower than he will be tomorrow night.
So, in addition to being the naturally bigger man, Paul is three inches taller, will have a six-inch reach advantage and Askren will have to get inside that reach to do something that is somewhat foreign to him -- throw punches. No grappling or holding will help or be allowed this time. Therefore, I see the young YouTube star extending his record to 3-0 and it will likely be over inside the distance.
Pick: Paul -177 (DraftKings)