“Get me my money, Jake”: How Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren Sent Boxing Down the Wrong Path

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Zander Zhang, Online Staff Writer

“Get me my money, Jake,” exploded rapper Snoop Dogg after witnessing the clinic Jake Paul put on for Ben Askren on the night of April 17. Almost a month after that night, mixed emotions surrounding the fight still trouble fans of the sport. “I expected the fight to at least enter the 3rd round or so, given the experience of Ben Askren in combat sports,” remarked junior Albert Ming. “So, it was very surprising when he was knocked out by a basic combination not even a full round into the fight,” Ming continued. There is indeed something to be said about the level of performance Askren put up during the fight; it seemed as though he had minimal training and fell flat immediately after the first combo Paul threw. This raises the question, is it possible that Ben Askren purposely lost, and that the fight was staged?

Although Ben Askren was formerly a UFC fighter, it is clear that boxing is not his strong suit; various figures in the MMA community have commented on Askren’s lack of striking skill and his affinity towards grappling. However, the fact that Askren is a professional combat sports athlete and lost to a YouTuber is still excruciatingly embarrassing. Interestingly enough, a lot of factors point to the fact that the knockout may have been planned. For example, it was reported that Askren took home a bag of $500,000 for his loss to Paul. Furthermore, in an interview with betting website Unikrn, UFC welterweight Belal Muhammad also commented that he knew Askren would purposely throw the fight and settle for the $500,000. Muhammad explained, “I’ve trained with Ben and I know that he does not box and he even admitted that if Jake Paul has any type of boxing ability he’s going to lose. And just judging by the way Ben showed up at weigh-in, he looked super out of shape, he didn’t care about that fight.” Even if there were no shady, under-the-table payments, it is still pretty likely that the fight was staged, given that Askren knew that he could not, and would not, win. 

However, whether the fight was fixed or not, there is something to be said about the negative impact of these highly hyped, social media-fueled fights like Paul vs. Askren on the sport. “The sport of boxing has transitioned into a money grab with an audience who knows nothing about combat sports and thus can’t appreciate or recognize an elite level boxer,” voices junior Hunter von Zelowitz. Von Zelowitz is completely right in his statement, as boxing has become all about the money and hype in recent years; true skill has been overtaken by internet clout, which in turn exacerbates the greediness of fighters and executives in the sport. As Belal Muhammad commented on the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren fight, “It does more harm to boxing than anything, the whole show was a joke.”

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