September 27th, 2019
Conflict erupts surrounding Askren and Paul fight
SUN. | 05-23-21 | ENT
After a controversial knockout in the fight between Ben Askren and YouTuber Jake Paul on Saturday, Apr. 17, at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, many speculate that the fight was staged to favor Paul. In under a minute, Paul was able to defeat Askren with a technical knockout (TKO) in the first round. After Paul stunned the world with his abilities against Nate Robinson and Askren, I believe that it was not staged and that he is just an educated fighter.
Prior to the fight, social media influencer Omar Raja was in the locker room before the match broke down for viewers on Tik Tok why the fight was not rigged. As everyone knows, it is illegal to rig a professional fight and it would cost way more to rig a fight than the actual fight would be worth in prize money. Additionally, although both fighters have the money to do so, it would be very excessive.
Askren is a professional fighter and a nice guy, but he had too much respect for himself to take a $500,000 check for losing. He was not going to walk away with a loss and ruin his own legacy and reputation to Raja. Askren also was coming into the fight off of a hip surgery, and is 12 years older than Paul at 36 years old. He clearly underestimated Paul as a boxer as many people have
Graphic by Murphy Fisher
recently, making it the perfect fight for Paul.
Prior to the fight, Askren’s accomplice, Tyronn Woodley, was in Paul's locker room for over ten minutes checking out his gloves. According to Omar, Jake’s entire team was trash talking him and Askren every second he was in Paul’s locker room. Then, one of Paul’s trainers entered Askren’s locker room and continued the trash talk from Paul’s locker room. Omar said that when Jake’s trainer finally left the room, everyone in Askren’s locker room wanted to fight him. Now if this were a rigged fight, would the trainers continue to chirp at the other opponent and their team?
Many people that believed this fight was rigged because of one very controversial point: the referee waved off Askren after Paul’s TKO punch. According to Raja, who sat basically ringside, “The fight 1000% needed to be stopped as Askren looked a lot more wobbly in-person than he did on the broadcast.” The referee made what I believe to be the right decision by calling off the fight as a TKO victory for Paul.
To sum things up, Askren looked out of shape, was coming off a hip surgery, is a decade older than Paul, and all around the perfect matchup for Paul to take on with confidence and not have to fake. If I were a boxer, I would have taken the chance to fight Askren as well, since he is considerably worse at boxing than mixed martial arts. Paul has been making a name for himself in the boxing community lately, with back to back knockouts in his last two appearances. Paul is a lot of talk, as he constantly calls on legendary fighter Connor McGregor to take him on. Paul currently has no set next opponent, but it will be interesting to see who he fights in the future and I am excited for his career as a boxer.