Paul vs Askren prediction, strategy

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Who would have thought Jake Paul vs Ben Askren would be one of the most anticipated events in boxing? And predictions vary based on little more than whimps and gut feelings.

Jake Paul, of course, is an intenet sensation who’s created an extremely large social media presence and inspires and angers millions around the world with his grit, bravado and gift for gab.

… And, perhaps, his boxing (because he's been able to back-up his words in the ring thus far).

Only 2-0 as a professional, the 24 year old Paul is already earning purses greater than many, if not most, legitimate titleholders and is one of the most well-known names in boxing despite having defeated fellas without any real experience.

On April 17, he’ll face someone with world class fighting skills who presumably can’t box a lick. Nevertheless, his opponent, Ben Askren, is certainly no slouch.

Paul vs Askren
Cruiserweights, 8 rounds
April 17, 2021
Hard Rock Hotel, Miami, FL

Triller PPV: $49.99

Recently retired after a successful MMA career, Ben went 19-2-0-1 NC in MMA and was unbeaten in his first 19 fights, primarily competing in MMA's 170-pound division. Sporting a 1-2 record in UFC, the 36-year-old world class wrestler defeated Robbie Lawlor and closed his career with losses to Jorge Masvidal and Demian Maia, top-rated UFC combatants.

Ben has faced world class fighters and we know he can wrestle. He’s probably one of the best pure wrestlers in the world pound-for-pound and heavily relied on those ground skills to become a successful, world class mixed martial artist.

…But this is boxing, and that’s what makes Paul vs Askren so intriguing.

One fella is an athletic, albeit very novice boxer, while the other is an accomplished world class wrestler and former MMA professional who dabbled in some aspects of boxing during his long career but was never known for his stand-up fighting skills.

In fact, Asken’s stand-up striking game was probably considered a chink in his armor when he competed in MMA.

So, what strategies might we see employed on April 10? Perhaps Askren summed it up best as far as what we should expect.

"We haven’t seen anything," Ben told the Metro when speaking of Paul's skills and toughness.

"The level of his competition was so low that it was almost impossible to tell if he is actually good at this. If there is one thing people respect about all fighters it’s the toughness to deal with adversity in battle and we have not seen that out of him."

"I don’t think he was hit hard by either one of those guys. They were so incredibly terrible at boxing. So we haven’t seen anything out of him yet."

Well, that goes both ways, Ben. Almost.

You’ve been training with the legendary Freddie Roach, but we have no idea what boxer Ben Askren can bring to the table sans experience in big fights and durability.

Will that be enough?

Ben Askren - Keys to victory
It's called "dirty boxing" in MMA and Askren will need to employ a lot of it if he hopes to win. 

Askren wants to put this fight in the trenches early. He wants a battle of attrition because he's been there many times in pro fights and Paul hasn't.

Fatigue makes cowards of us all. If Askren has Paul sucking wind early, the entire complexion of the fight changes.

Look for Askren to stay in close to try to smother Paul's power all while leaning on Jake to sap his energy. Askren should step on Paul's toes, tug an arm, tie him up, and push and shove the novice boxer to keep him off balance. And when they're at medium to long range, Ben must employ awkward, herky, jerky movements so Paul can't time him with his long, quick left jab.

And yes, should Asken get buzzed, a few takedowns wouldn't hurt his cause. A referee will allow at least one without taking points away. In fact, Askren might be able to get away with several "soft" takedowns which could further drain Jake's energy, frustrate him and rattle his confidence a bit.

Defensively, Nate Robinson, Paul's previous opponent, made the mistake of squaring up and rushing in with his chin on a silver platter - And he was knocked out as a result. Askren will need to get inside but he must be more intelligent and deliberate when doing so.

Like a wrestler shooting for a takedown, he must create angles to rush in when Jake is not in position to clock him or effectively pivot out of range.

The longer the fight is kept at close quarters and the uglier it is, advantage Ben. Let's not forget Paul is 2-0 versus non-fighters and has no amateur experience.

Jake Paul's - Keys to victory
Paul should respect Askren's pedigree as a fighter. Although Paul certainly has more boxing experience, Askren has more fighting experience and has faced legitimate world class opponents, even if not boxers. Askren knows what it's like to go toe-to-toe with polished foes and what it's like to get hurt and survive a grueling fight. How key will that intangible be on fight night?

... If you're Jake Paul, you want to stay out of the trenches, especially early.

Paul should look to comfortably box Askren from medium to long range and dissect him early with his quick left jab. 

Jake's most vital weapon early on will be his feet, not his hands. He'll need to get into a nice rhythm and not allow Askren to have success at close range. In fact, the more Jake can keep Asken on the end of his jab, the better. Again, he'll need to use his feet to set up shots and move out of harms way.

Foot movement should be in Paul's favor as the presumably flat-footed Askren will likely be walking like he's in quicksand the entire fight.

Box, box, box... in Rounds 1 and 2. Paul should use that left jab to establish distance and score points, and then nail with Ben with an occasional hard right hand after blinding him with a jab.

Also, as someone so novice in boxing and so adept in wrestling, it's almost inevitable Ben will drop his hands often, giving Jake ample opportunites to land hard shots.

... And even if Askren's gloves look like they're tapped to his head early, all Paul needs to do is land some serious hooks to the body to bring his hands down. One way or another, Askren will give Paul many windows of opportuntiy to land flush, whether its to the head or body.

Will Paul be instinctive enough to find those openings?

Asken is a tough guy and probably takes a good shot. As a result, Jake should look to soften him up in the first two rounds, using his more educated feet to stay out of harm's way to create opportunities to land.

Make him miss and then make him pay... Use feints and make him pay.... Ben will surely make more mistakes than Paul come April 17.

If you're Jake Paul, you want to seize command early and remind Ben he's out of his element. He'll have to catch Askren with a few hard, eye-catching shots that'll earn his respect and force him into survival mode the back half of the fight.

Paul vs Askren prediction
This is a tough one because we know so little about these guys as boxers. I'm going to go out on a limb and pick a draw. I think Askren, using his grappling ability and a few nuances from Trainer Roach, will have success in making it an ugly fight and being a bully; But Jake will have his moments, establishing his jab and landing the cleaner, harder shots.

In the end, most will insist Jake edged his foe but the judges won't be able to decide on a winner after 8 rounds of a difficult-to-score contest.

Get ready for Paul vs Askren 2.

box.buzz

 

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