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Jake Paul does not lack in confidence.
The YouTube superstar turned celebrity boxer announced Tuesday his latest venture, an April 17 boxing match against former UFC star and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren.
Paul also told ESPN he’ll knock Askren out faster than Jorge Masvidal’s famed flying knee at UFC 239.
“I started boxing two years ago and I’m still going to knock his ass out faster than [Jorge] Masvidal,” he said. “These MMA guys think because they throw punches they know how to box. The world complained because I knocked out a basketball player and not a real fighter. So now I’m giving the people what they want by taking on a ‘real fighter.’ After Ben Askren is added to my knockout meme collection, what can anybody say?”
Masvidal, of course, finished Askren in five seconds, while Paul’s most noteworthy moment was a knockout of Nate Robinson, a retired NBA player.
Paul says he respects what Askren accomplished in MMA, but boxing is another thing entirely.
“Askren has 20-something MMA fights has been in there with Robbie Lawler, he’s a tough guy,” he said. “I think anyone would have been knocked out by Masvidal’s knee. That knee that landed would have knocked anyone out. So I think Danis would have been the easiest one by far. But these MMA guys, just because they throw punches they think they can box. This is why I’m confident in my ability to destroy this guys. They have no head movement, they’re slow, they aren’t going to the gym every day and boxing.”
Paul revealed Askren wasn’t his first choice of opponents, saying serious talks were held with a handful of potential suitors.
“We were talking about five or six guys. MMA fighters, some celebrities,” he said. “NFL guys, and when it came down to the ink meeting the paper and green-lighting this and being “let’s do this,” these guys, it turns out a lot of them weren’t as serious as we thought. I think people don’t like to give me props for my boxing ability, but deep down people are like ‘damn, this kid’s here to fight, and Ben Askren was the only one who was serious about it, and wanted to make it happen and was ready to go.
“Kudos to him but there were guys like Dillon Danis who was all over social media who I threw muddy, piss-filled toilet paper at his face. People wanted that fight. People wanted me to fight Ben Askren. People wanted me to fight McGregor. People wanted me to fight Diaz, and I think all of those fights will happen eventually, but Dillon Danis claimed a knee injury. Conor McGregor just lost. Nate Diaz is tied up by the UFC.”
At the end of the day, Askren was the one who stepped up, and Paul is glad to have the opportunity.
“Ben Askren was the only one that was ready to go, and he has less losses than McGregor and he’s a legit fighter who finished 12 people in his professional career and so for me it’s a perfect fight because people wanted to see me fight a real fighter.”