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Former Bellator champion and ex-UFC fighter Askren is scheduled to fight YouTube star Paul in an eight-round boxing match on April 17.
Despite Paul’s inexperience as a boxer, many are befuddled at how Askren, who was known as a standout wrestler throughout his MMA career but not necessarily praised for his striking, has decided to come out of retirement to lace up the gloves and throw down in a boxing ring.
But for Chandler, it comes as no surprise. He thinks too many people are counting Askren out and that there are various factors that could sway things in his favor.
“I think it’s a great idea, No. 1,” Chandler said on a recent episode of “The Jim Rome Show.” “No. 2, Ben Askren is one of the most remarkable human beings in the entire planet. Everybody sees the big ‘fro and the loud voice, just attitude, but Ben is one of the most giving and full-of-humility men I’ve ever met in my entire life. He’s one of the reasons I got into mixed martial arts. He’s a heck of a competitor. The funny thing is, it doesn’t surprise me. If you know Ben well enough, nothing should ever surprise you.
“The man is a wild card; he marches to the beat of his own drum. Now, what I will say about the actual matchup, Jake Paul is not a great boxer. Ben Askren is not a great boxer. Ben Askren, quite frankly, the weakest of his attributes is his ability to strike on the feet. But I think, depending on the referee, depending on the ruleset, depending on how the promotion is set up, Ben is going to be able to get his hands on Jake, do some dirty boxing, some underhooks, some pushing, some pulling.”
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Just like Askren predicted, Chandler thinks “Funky” will be able to drag Paul into deep waters and stop him late. In just two boxing matches, Paul has yet to go past Round 2.
“We’re going to see, and I think Ben may be penalized for it,” Chandler said. “Ben may be pulled off of him, maybe broken up a lot, but you’re going to see Ben close the distance, Ben get his hands on him. You’re going to see Ben wear out Jake Paul because there’s a difference between boxing at distance and throwing punches and having a guy in your face, putting pressure on you, pushing you back up against the ropes. You’ve got to remember, yes it’s boxing, but Ben knows how to move, maneuver and manipulate another human body, his opponent, with his hands.”
“So it’s going to be very interesting to watch the dirty boxing, watch the clinch game, and also watch Ben’s toughness. We saw Ben get knocked out cold, but listen, King Kong himself would have gotten knocked out by that Jorge Masvidal knee. Ben traditionally has a phenomenal chin, a great chin, and the wherewithal to be able to push Jake Paul around the boxing ring for eight three-minute rounds. Mark my words, I think he finishes Jake Paul later in the fight.”