Former MMA world champion Ben Askren seems to be taking his upcoming boxing battle against Jake Paul seriously. But that doesn’t mean the 36-year-old is taking it so seriously that he hasn’t had time between his intense training sessions to create post after post on social media to troll the YouTuber.
The posts aren’t just tweets or even the high-level Instagram stories Paul is known for producing. Askren is making some top-quality content right now in his efforts to get under Paul’s skin, and all of it is worth watching.
Askren Channels Rocky Balboa
The latest on Instagram is a tremendous training montage inspired by Sylvester Stallone’s 1985 film “Rocky IV.”
Askren posted, “When I got the call to fight Logan Paul’s little brother I had to go into Rocky Style training!”
To the tune of John Cafferty’s “Hearts on Fire” — just like in “Rocky IV” — Askren jogs through the snow, does walking lunges with a log over his shoulders, jogs with a strap around his waist pulling two kids in a snow tube, chops down a tree with an ax, does some indoor weight and boxing training and even shares a romantic moment with his wife before climbing a stone wall and shouting, “Jake Paul!” in the nearly 3-minute video.
Askren Trolled Paul About His Older Brother & Things Got Physical at a Weekend Press Conference
But Askren didn’t start there, and he probably won’t end there either.
Recently, Askren has even dared to go after Paul’s relationship with his older brother, Logan Paul. Askren posted about Logan Paul beating up Jake Paul when the two were growing up. He posted, “Every little brother knows this as fact. Not sure why @jakepaul is so salty about it.”
Jake Paul, 24, and Logan Paul, 25, are two of the most popular YouTubers in the world. Both have been honing their new trades in the world of combat sports as of late. Jake Paul is 2-0 with 2 KOs, but he’s yet to face a legitimate prizefighter.
All that will change against Askren at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 17.
Still, Askren doesn’t seem all that concerned about it. He showed that when the two met face-to-face at the press conference for the event over the weekend, where amid a nearly 30-minute verbal confrontation Askren “put his hand across Paul’s face,” as MMA Junkie put it, and Paul shoved Askren from behind. Askren’s actions seem to have seriously bothered Paul.
Did Askren Make a Mistake? Or Did Paul?
Paul claims Askren’s slap during their face-off was a big mistake. Paul posted on Twitter, “Only time Ben Askren ever touches me … he done f***** up.”
But maybe a bigger mistake was a novice professional fighter deciding to climb inside the ring with someone with as many pro fights as Askren.
Sure, Askren never won UFC gold, but he was a welterweight champ for both Bellator MMA and ONE Championship.
Heck, Askren never even lost a fight until he entered the UFC at the very end of his career. Before losing his last two fights to Jorge Masvidal and Demian Maia, Askren had won 19 fights in a row, and he did it over a decade of solid work.
During that 10 years, Askren made his bones in MMA cages by avoiding his opponents’ punches and turning his fights into wrestling matches. While he won’t be able to do the latter in his boxing match versus Paul, the former will most certainly be an important factor in the fight.
Biggest Question About Paul vs. Askren
What happens to Paul when he throws punches for the first time in his career against a person who doesn’t immediately fall to pieces? That’s the biggest question heading into the fight on Triller pay-per-view, and the answer is likely to determine the winner of the fight.
Until that day, Askren is apparently only doing two things. He’s training under the watchful eye of legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach, who helped turn Manny Pacquiao into one of the biggest superstars the sport has ever seen, and he’s trolling Paul via social media.
As excellent as Paul has been so far in his short fighting career at making his own waves via social media, Askren has been even better at it as of late.
In fact, UFC stars like Daniel Cormier, who previously leaned toward the idea that Askren was in for a long, long night versus Paul have suddenly changed their tunes. “DC” posted on Twitter, “Ben, I like the way you did him! Let’s go Askren!!!!!!”
He also wrote, “I just saw Jake Paul’s reaction to @Benaskren palming his face and I am now convinced that Ben wins. He looked like he wanted to throw a punch and then settled on slapping his ass? Ben smashes this dude. I’m all the way in!!!!”
Paul vs. Askren is set for April 17 on Triller pay-per-view. It’s sure to be one of the wildest events of the year in combat sports, and Askren seems intent on making things as difficult as possible for his opponent until the fight takes place — in part by using his epic trolling powers.
Everybody Hates Jake Paul?/h2>
Askren never really stopped trolling Paul all the way up to fight week.
The fighter’s meme of him putting his hand in Paul’s face became a viral hit, and he continued to make fun of Paul for his reaction.
Askren made that image into a mask to wear.
He also created an NFT of the image for auction.
But maybe the most unexpected thing that happened over that same timeframe is how the general public seemed to rally behind Askren and against Paul.
During his time with the UFC, Askren wasn’t exactly the most popular UFC star.
But heading into his boxing bout against Paul, people all over the world are expressing their support of the fighter.
Here’s one sign from Askren’s home state of Wisconsin.
Here’s another one.
Even the trailer Askren dropped about him fighting “some guy” mocked Paul’s boxing skills to the highest degree, and it’s for sure worth a watch.
Now the trolling war is about to be over, and things will have to be settled inside a boxing ring. The question around the fight remains the same today as it was when it was first signed. Did Paul make a huge mistake in selecting Askren for the fight? Or has Askren talked himself into a massive beating?
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