Aiming to maintain his stunning 100% KO ratio (out of two fights), Jake Paul embraces with MMA veteran, Ben Askren, in a showdown for the record books.
Triller: Paul vs Askren Predictions & Results
As every Jake Paul fight night passes, and with every knockout victory tagged to his name, the Vine and Youtuber superstar slowly lives up to his title as a professional boxer. Despite the torture that Nate Robinson receives across social media, constantly taunted with images of himself flattened across the canvas, there was a considerable belief that Robinson would be the victor. As the first elite athlete that Paul would face, many argued that the athletic levels alone would expose Paul under the intense media spotlight. Alas, Paul once again showcased his severely underrated jab before catching Robinson with hard counters as the ex-basketball star awkwardly fumbled forward to close the distance.
Standing in his way is Ben Askren. Former ONE and Bellator champion, as well as owner of perhaps the most intensely watched three-fight stint in the UFC, Saturday night represents Askren’s first combat bout since his hip replacement a couple of years back. Askren may have been stopped in his last two professional fights, albeit with a back and forth affair with fellow veteran, Demian Maia, but aside from succumbing to a flying knee that would have knocked out a horse, there is little reason to question his elite durability or conditioning. Meme boxing credentials or not, Askren is a wily veteran of mixed martial arts and with enough knowledge and experience that will pay dividends during the second half of the fight.
Most of the fights on the undercard are random fighters being chucked together with no real nuance of matchmaking. Of interest, however, is the Steve Cunningham and Frank Mir bout. The former UFC Heavyweight champion, Mir, renowned for his grappling and submissions, is to face off against former Cruiserweight World champion, Steve Cunningham. While Cunningham’s 33% KO ratio is pretty laughable when considering the norm amongst the big boys, the Philly native still possesses heavy enough hands that were capable of flattening the consensus #1 Heavyweight, Tyson Fury. This is a murder in the boxing ring waiting to happen. Also, how sad is it that Regis Prograis, the second-best lightweight in the world, is forced to fight on this circus show?
Jake Paul (2-0, 2KO) vs Ben Askren (DEBUT)
Jake Paul is bordering Floyd Mayweather levels of match-making excellence. Of course, that isn’t to equate the two men’s skill levels, but Paul has proven over his short professional boxing career that he can organise fights with the biggest hype, largest rewards and for the lowest risks. Underneath all the abuse and ill-informed views littered across social media, Jake Paul is a competent boxer regardless of his vlogging background. Paul has had free access to elite trainers, equipment and sparring partners for the past few years. Not only did Paul spend considerable time working under Shane Mosley before the AnEsonGib fight, but Logan’s little brother has also recently worked with Evander Holyfield.
Jake Paul’s money shot this fight, and likely in every circus show match-up that he will continue to engage in, will be his jab. While Paul’s heavy side-on stance brings its own issues, by maintaining his bladed positioning, Paul can utilise every inch of his lead left. With a height and reach advantage (allegedly 4″ but that looks doubtful), Paul can regularly score cleanly with his jab. While Askren’s elite chin will never crumble to Paul’s jab, and many expect the wrestler to wade through damage to engage immediately in the clinch, during the later rounds Paul will be able to dictate rounds with the jab. Askren has shown a notoriously leaky striking defence throughout his MMA career, and while the larger gloves can be used more effectively in guard and parrying, his complete lack of head movement will not change. Furthermore, the already crab-like advances will only appear more awkward and strained after a serious hip surgery that forced him out of mixed martial arts in the first place. Nate Robinson attempted to clinch Paul regularly in their bout, yet the twenty-four-year-old showed maturity and patience as he fought to lean on his opponent until the referee broke them up. With excellent use of his head, perhaps stemming from his wrestling background, Paul used his skull as an illegal means to catch Robinson swarming in as well as a barrier when tied up. Although Paul’s left hand (outside the jab) needs a lot of work, his overhand right has shown time again to be accurate and powerful. The dipping overhand right, in a similar vein to Dan Henderson’s, catches opponents unaware as well as piledriving a huge amount of force.
Despite all of Paul’s technical and athletic advantages, there remain questions surrounding the youth’s chin and gas tank. Askren, one of the weakest stand-up strikers across top MMA promotions in recent memory, can win this contest based on his legendary durability and cardio alone. Disregarding the snappy highlight reels of pad work found online, Askren isn’t going to win this fight based on his coma-like hand speed and awkward combinations. Instead, Askren’s easiest path to victory is bull-rushing his opponent and grinding Paul down against the ropes and roughing him up in the clinch. Paul will also struggle with Askren’s lead hand that isn’t used to strike, but rather constantly hand-fight and preventing an easy avenue for straight shots. Expect Askren to frequently use his short uppercuts when clinched with Paul or to catch his opponent instinctively lunging with the forehead. If you were to only watch Askren’s open media workout, there is little to be excited about for Askren’s chances. Yet it is important to understand that Askren’s greatest qualities cannot be showcased on a highlight reel. Dirty boxing, sweltering pressure and a granite chin make this an interesting affair.
Predicted Result: Paul Decision
In a vicious build-up to a fight where there is little room to make an argument for both fighter’s chances of winning, I have a hard time seeing this bout as anything other than an ugly, clinch-heavy dog-fight which will require the referee to have a career performance. Jake Paul, love him or hate him, has had access to elite trainers and facilities for the past few years and seems to have evolved in every fight he has been in. While his lead hand is somewhat limited to just a jab, it is educated and crisp and will likely be the biggest scoring factor in the contest. Moreover, Paul’s use of the head is underrated as an illegal (but never penalised) tool. When facing Nate Robinson who erratically attempted to close the distance and clinch, Paul dipped his head into a barrier for the clinch and regularly caught Robinson. While Paul will have a harder time achieving this against a savvy wrestling veteran in Askren, as the taller man Paul will still be able to hold his own in the eventual messy clinches that will occur. Despite the open media workout that has fans hot on Askren’s boxing skillset, the utter lack of hand speed and awkward torsion (perhaps due to a recent hip surgery) suggests little for Askren’s success in a clean boxing affair. Dirty boxing, sweltering pressure and a granite chin are the attributes that will sway the contest in Askren’s favour. Too much relies on Paul being out-witted by the veteran, expending his gas tank early and the referee allowing the two to work on the inside for extended periods, however. In a tight-knit, sloppy bout, I’m favouring the boxer who can shine in the rare periods of range fighting.
Result: Paul def. Askren // TKO Round 1 1:59
Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Steve Cunningham (29-9-1, 13KO) vs Frank Mir (DEBUT)
How has this fight been sanctioned for Christ’s sake? Steve Cunningham may not be a household name, but the former Cruiserweight champion is an extremely experienced boxer who has shared the ring with some of the best. It was only four years ago that Cunningham took the talent prospect, Andrew Tabiti, to a ten-round decision in which the thirty-seven-year old saw moments of success. Worse yet for Mir, Cunningham appears to be in top shape and as sharp as a fighter in his forties could be. Cunningham has a ridiculous chin, a solid gas tank and the ability to throw extended combinations to body and head. While his sharp head movement and footwork of his youth has declined over the years, Cunningham is still adept at switching attacks off his front and back foot. Wherever and whenever in the ring, Cunningham should have his way with Mir.
Frank Mir is a well-loved MMA fighter, largely down to his reign as UFC Heavyweight champion and his exciting submission finishes. While Mir is certainly a tough combatant, his boxing was always his weakest facet in mixed martial arts. Originally planned to fight an out-of-shape Antonio Tarver, to now be fighting Cunningham is stupid and reckless from everyone involved. Mir carries powerful hands but he has almost no footwork to speak of and will struggle to understand the range/pace of the fight let alone contest for it.
Predicted Result: Cunningham TKO Round 4
Eight rounds between a former IBF Cruiserweight champion, notorious for keeping in quality shape, and an over-the-hill mixed martial artist renowned for his deadly submissions and vacant stand-up. How this fight has been sanctioned is anyone’s guess, but Mir can only rely on a punchers chance of winning this affair. Cunningham is a wonderfully rounded boxer who will dominate the range and pace of the fight. It was only four years ago that Cunningham was able to go the full ten rounds against the prospect, Andrew Tabiti, and win his fair share of rounds.
Result: Cunningham def. Mir // Decision (unanimous – 58-56, 60-54, 60-54)
Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Rest of the Card
Super Lightweight (140)
Regis Prograis (25-1, 21KO) vs Ivan Redkach (23-5-1, 18KO)
God Damn do I love me some Regis Prograis. The New Orleans boy finds himself in the upper echelons of the Super-Lightweight division after both he and Josh Taylor cleaned out all contenders during the World Boxing Super Series tournament. After a back-and-forth contest that could have been scored either way, Prograis found himself on the wrong side of a razor-thin decision. Having only fought the once since Prograis dispatched the undefeated Juan Heraldez in under three rounds. A tricky southpaw, Prograis utilises his lightning-fast jab as a means to work his onto an outside angle and set up his powerful left. Prograis possesses genuine power at 140, regularly hurting durable fighters (Terry Flanagan) and usually finishing them (Kiryl Relikh, Julius Indongo). This is largely due to Prograis cutting a ridiculous amount of weight to make the 140lb limit. While his time may be limited at Super Lightweight here on out, no doubt Prograis will cause waves as he moves up divisions.
Ivan Redkach is several levels below the quality necessary to threaten Prograis. Although Redkach performed admirably in his twelve-round decision loss to Danny Garcia, the native Ukrainian isn’t physically sharp enough to keep pace with the elite fighters. A compact Southpaw, Redkach probes tentatively with his jab and waits for opponents to wade into range for counters. Unfortunately, Redkach uses few weapons to actively bait opponent’s into closing the distance and as such can ease through entire rounds having only thrown a handful of shots.
Predicted Result: Prograis TKO Round 8
Redkach is a tricky Southpaw, but his ceiling has already been revealed to be several levels below that of Prograis. The New Orleans native is one of two elite fighters at Super Lightweight, and his size and skills dwarf almost all at 140lbs. Redkach will be unable to deal with Prograis’ lightning jab, and as such, Prograis will find ample time and opportunity to land his powerful left hand. Despite going the distance with a lethargic Danny Garcia, Redkach will have to fight tooth and nail to even reach the bell. Lacking the athleticism necessary to stand toe-to-toe with Prograis, Redkach will be unable to find a hard counter under the high volume of incoming shots.
Result: Prograis def. Redkach // TKO Round 6 3:00
Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌
Lorenzo Simpson (9-0, 5KO) vs Francisco Emanuel Torres (16-3, 5KO)
Twenty-one year old, undefeated prospected, Lorenzo Simpson is a rising tide in the Middleweight division. Nephew of former World Heavyweight champion, Hasim Rahman, Simpson won a string of national titles in the amateurs and has so far looked the real deal in the professional ranks. Last defeating the undefeated, Sanny Duversonne, in an eight-round war, Simpson tasted the canvas for the first time in his career. The knockdown, though, was largely due to a tangle of feet rather than sustaining any significant damage. Fighting behind an emphasised high guard, Simpson stick and moves to dominate positioning in the ring. Once his opponent is close to the ropes, Simpson risks short combinations that often incorporate a couple of body shots. While his eye for a counter shot is still developing, his lateral movement ensures he is rarely lost against the ropes.
Argentinian, Francisco Torres, finds himself on an eight-fight win streak and currently 2-0 in the USA. Despite his recent success, Torres is not a pretty fight to watch. Utilising his long frame, Torres remains peppering opponents with his straight shots and pouncing on clinches whenever opponents can weave their way inside. Torres’ patience has been his greatest asset at the level he currently operates, refusing to allow his opponent’s any opportunity to close the distance without eating a couple of shots. Unfortunately, against slicker opponents, Torres cannot solely rely on his reach as opponents will be able to cut off the ring more effectively.
Predicted Result: Simpson Decision
Torres is a surprisingly compact and disciplined boxer, but his success largely stems from his size advantage. A long six-foot at Middleweight, Torres utilises his lanky frame to pepper opponents with straight shots and pounce on a clinch whenever an opponent is able to close the distance. Simpson represents one of the larger opponents that Torres has faced, however, and their somewhat equal proportions leave Torres without a critical element to his game. Simpson tendency to target the body is another area that Torres has looked uncomfortable with in the past, and when Simpson can back the Argentinian against the ropes, the twenty-one-year-old will be able to pick his shots.
Result: 🚫 FIGHT CANCELLED (cannot find a single reason as to why though, weird) 🚫
Super Middleweight (168)
Junior Younan (15-0-1, 10KO) vs Jeyson Minda (14-4-1, 8KO)
Undefeated twenty-five-year-old, Junior Younan, has recently been touted as a sleeping giant at Super Middleweight. Turning professional on his eighteenth birthday, Younan still had time in the amateurs to secure a long string of national titles (including the 2011 National Junior Olympic Championship). Younan suffered a setback against Ronald Ellis when they duelled to a split decision draw over the US Super Middleweight title, but that draw has aged well as Ellis fought valiantly for eleven rounds against the ridiculously talented David Benavidez. Rebuilding with a couple of wins over journeymen, Younan once again exhibited his hands low style that plays into his unorthodox angles. Far too pedestrian when waiting for a counter opportunity, Younan bleeds rounds as he fails to throw anything off of the front foot. If Younan had attempted to throw the occasional jab during the Ellis fight, he would have given himself a greater chance of winning some of the easier paced rounds.
Ecuadorian, Jeyson Minda, is a man that is no stranger to the road. Having never found a W on his travels, Minda has also impressively never reached the final bell outside of his home country. Granted, Minda has had to face tough prospects in Magomed Madiev, as well as experienced operators in Kanat Islam and Julio Cesar Chaves Jr. A flat-footed fighter, Minda only knows how to deliver power and often leaves himself fatally exposed when he overcommits (i.e. against Madiev).
Predicted Result: Younan TKO Round 7
Minda is a man no stranger to the road, but unfortunately, the Ecuadorian has only ever tasted knockout defeat outside of his home country. Sure, Minda has been fighting well above his level (Julio Cesar Chaves Jr., Magomed Madiev, Kanat Islam) but he has routinely shown his only game plan is a flat-footed forward pressure into heavy power shots. Overcommitting on his punches, Minda leaves himself open in awkward positions – playing directly into Younan’s most comfortable game. While Younan needs drastic development in his front-foot activity, there is no denying the twenty-five year old can crack on a counter shot and once again Minda will struggle fighting well above his natural weight.
Result: Younan def. Minda // Decision (unanimous – 78-71, 78-71, 78-71)
Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Quinton Randall (7-0, 2KO) vs William Jackson (13-2-2, 5KO)
Quinton Randall has an excellent story that is easy to get behind, but his chances of making a splash in the professional ranks are somewhat limited. The former Texas State penitentiary in-mate decided to pursue boxing to make his son proud when he left prison and was able to secure a national championship. Sadly, his son passed away after a car accident in January 2017, but Randall continued to box and eventually transitioned to the pros in February 2019. Randall’s amateur pedigree is clear, as he patiently reads opponents and aims to score cleanly. While Randall doesn’t appear to have the tenacity to break down opponents, his size and athleticism are often slick enough to ease to points victories.
Thirty-two-year old, William Jackson, began his professional career back in 2008. Amassing a 13-2-1 record across 2008-2014, Jackson was also able to secure a WBC United States title against Chris Rudd. Jackson was a solid amateur as well, representing the USA and dropping a points decision to Billy Joe Saunders. Returning to a majority decision draw against Tre’Sean Wiggins in 2017, Jackson once again went on hiatus until his return this Saturday. With barely any tape online to review, and no media limelight shone on poor old Jackson, there is little support for the once-promising American.
Predicted Result: Randall Decision
Feather duster, Quinton Randall, may have a shot at securing a stoppage victory here over a fighter with one of the stranger stop-start careers. After a 13-2-1 stint over 2008-2014, William Jackson left the sport only to return for a majority decision draw against Tre’Sean Wiggins in 2017. Another hiatus ensued before Jackson’s involvement in Saturday night’s affairs. While Randall is fighting Father Time to climb the professional ranks, the classy operator should be able to overcome the now unknown skillset of a solid former amateur and professional.
Result: Randall def. Jackson // Decision (unanimous – 80-70, 80-70, 80-70)
Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️
Light Heavyweight (175)
Joe Fournier (8-0, 8KO) vs Andres Felipe Robledo Londono (DEBUT)
Brit, Joe Fournier, can trumpet his 100% KO ration all he wishes, but it starts to look a little suspect when you dig deep into his record. Having been victorious six times in the Dominican Republic against a combined opposition of 4-67, Fournier appears to have enjoyed a wee bit of padding. Worse yet, after fighting journeyman Mustapha Stini (11-41-1) in Belgium, Fournier popped for Sibutramine (weight-loss agent). A man born into wealth, Fournier had the financial backing to pursue whatever business he desired – moving from gyms to nightclubs to boxing.
Andres Felipe Robledo Londono, aka Reykon, is a reggaeton musician from Colombia. This is to settle some dumb beef over a woman they both desired. People hate on Jake Paul for fighting nobodies, but he is a twenty-four-year-old who has dedicated himself to training and is slowly ramping up the competition. Fournier is a boxing wannabe who has padded his records with knockout victories over fighters that solely came for a payday.
Predicted Result: Fournier Decision
Look elsewhere for genuine advice about this fight. This is a garbage fight over a girl in a nightclub between a Brit born into wealth who has padded his record and ego in the Dominican Republic, against a reggaeton singer from Columbia. It is easy to see how Fournier is best mates with David Haye, the actual state of the pair.
Result: Fournier def. Reykon // TKO Round 2 3:00
Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Triller: Paul vs Askren
2021 Boxing Season
Takeaway comments: These circus shows could do with trimming the fat, there is no need for the odd legitimate boxing match on these cards. Just bow to your audience and make it a freak show.
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