Jake Paul still hasn't fought a professional boxer in his short boxing career, but he now owns a knockout victory over a professional fighter. Paul scored a first-round TKO over former UFC fighter Ben Askren in their main event clash from inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Paul, a YouTube star, came out fast against Askren, working off a jab that he used to Askren's head and body. Askren, an accomplished wrestler who was never known as a striker in his successful mixed martial arts career, looked stiff and slightly robotic as he tried to figure out a way inside on the younger, stronger and faster Paul.
With Paul showing solid technique, it felt clear Askren would have to turn things into a dirtier fight than a straight boxing match. Unfortunately for Askren, a crushing overhand right from Paul sent him spilling to the floor. Despite beating the count, the referee deemed Askren unable to continue and called the fight off at the 1:59 mark of Round 1.
Askren protested the stoppage, but the replay did show that, as the referee told Askren to walk forward, the former mixed martial artist moved sideways at the same time. Askren was shown walking backstage smiling after the bout, apparently in good spirits after making $500,000 in disclosed pay for the bout.
"It's been four months, I've been in training camp every day," Paul said after his win. "I deserve this shit. I don't know how many times I have to prove myself that this is for real."
Paul still needs to prove that he can compete against trained boxers, but has done everything that could reasonably asked in his trio of circus fights to start his boxing career. Paul turned professional with a first round TKO of fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib before brutally stopping former NBA star Nate Robinson in a viral knockout in his next fight. Now, having beat Askren, it remains to be seen if Paul will look to continue trying to establish himself as a legitimate boxer or continue on a path that has been undeniably successful from a financial standpoint.
Askren, to his credit, kept a level head after the fight when talking with reporters.
"I wasn't nervous at all because at the end of the day, my life doesn't change one way or the other," Askren said. "In MMA, I was always pursuing or defending a world title, and you know, today, I was doing a fun boxing match. If it turned out great, then great. If it turned out shit, then my life is the same. So there were really no nerves whatsoever."
Elsewhere on the card, Regis Prograis scored a decision win over Ivan Redkach in fairly unique fashion. While up on the scorecards, Prograis went to throw a right hook to the body that seemed to glance off the side. However, Redkach immediately went to the mat writhing in pain. Redkach claimed it was a lowblow that caught him in the groin, but replay showed from multiple angles that it did not. Redkach was eventually stretchered out of the ring and the fight went straight to the scorecards, where it was a clean sweep for Prograis.
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CBS Sports was with you throughout the entire way on Saturday, so be sure to follow along with the live results and highlights below.
Fight card, results
- Jake Paul def. Ben Askren via first-round TKO (ref stoppage)
- Regis Prograis def. Ivan Redkach via unanimous decision (60-54, 60-54, 59-54)
- Steve Cunningham def. Frank Mir via unanimous decision (60-54, 60-54, 58-56)
- Joe Fournier def. Reykon via second-round TKO (corner stoppage)
Paul vs. Askren scorecard, live coverage
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