Boxing legend and renowned coach Freddie Roach gives an extremely bold prediction for Ben Askren vs. Jake Paul boxing match which is set to fight on April 17 on pay-per-view.
Roach is one of the greatest boxing trainers of all time, having worked with Manny Pacquiao for years, not to mention MMA fighters such as Georges St-Pierre and Tony Ferguson. Besides, Roach did some work with Askren for this camp, as UFC president Dana White hooked the two up. During their one week of training together at Wild Card Boxing in Los Angeles, Roach said he was impressed by the skills that Askren showed him.
“First let me share with you how this came about. I received a call from my friend Dana White,” Freddie Roach told MMA Fighting when asked about the work he did with Askren. “He asked if I would work with Ben to prepare for his fight against Jake Paul. I had hoped it would be a full camp, but Ben was only able to spend one week with me at Wild Card, in mid-March.
“It was great working with Ben. He is a true professional and a class act. He came to Wild Card in great shape and sparred the first day and did 12 rounds of mitts with me, straight through, on the second day in addition to the usual roadwork and boxing drills. He is a quick study and has a great work ethic. He puts his punches together very well and with a lot of power,” Roach told MMAFighting.com.
Roach was so impressed by what he saw from Askren in his camp that he believes “Funky” will not only beat Paul on Saturday night but beat him by knockout.
“I refer to Jake Paul as the YouTube boob. I’ve seen a video of him fighting and his press conference with Ben. It’s really hard for me to watch him too long,” Roach said.
“I know one thing, when Ben knocks Jake Paul on his ass on Saturday night, YouTube will have itself a new most-viewed video highlight.”
Ben Askren has worked hard on his striking
There was a time not that long ago that Ben Askren was considered one of the best mixed martial artists on the planet, largely based around his incredible wrestling game after he was a two-time NCAA champion and a member of the U.S. Olympic team.
When he retired in 2019, Askren was headed for hip surgery that would make competing in MMA nearly impossible but he didn’t close the door on possibly returning to action for the right opportunity. Of course, no one expected that Askren’s first fight in two years would come in a boxing match against YouTube celebrity Jake Paul but that’s exactly what will happen on Saturday night, April 17.
Askren never hid his intentions to drag opponents to the mat and maul them but he also was never considered a prolific striker during his career. That’s why when the opportunity came along to clash with Paul in a boxing match, Askren put all of his focus on learning the sweet science, and that included a week spent with one of the top coaches in the history of the sport.
In the end, Roach expects Askren to show a superior skill set, which will allow him to punish Paul round after round until he either wins a decision or gets the knockout finish.
“Since Ben is the shorter fighter, he will have to close the distance between him and Jake,” Roach said. “Crowd him. If Ben can do that, then his power will be maximized and it will be easy for Ben to begin breaking Jake down from a variety of angles. Ben throws better combinations than Jake. Ben knows he will have to be on the attack for as long as the fight goes.
“Jake has a height and reach advantage and a little bit of power. He seems to be working hard in the gym and is in decent shape. You should always respect your opponent inside the ring and Ben knows that. We’ll see what Jake is made of when that bell rings. Jake may find out that it’s safer to exchange insults with Ben than punches.”
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