2021 looks like it’s going to be the year of the Paul brothers running wild in boxing. And while that may drive a number of us mad having to pay attention to their various hijinx outside the ring, we can at least take solace in the fact that we’ll probably get to see them both face down on the canvas sooner or later. Sure, they’ll be millions of dollars richer off the beatings they’ll take, but I’ll accept that transaction.
First up will be Logan Paul, who is set to fight Floyd Mayweather in February. Mayweather’s last exhibition saw him light up Japanese kickboxing star Tenshin, knocking the 22 year old down multiple times before the ref finally waved things off. We expect nothing but more of the same from Floyd against Logan. He knows why we’re tuning in.
As for Jake Paul, it’s less clear who’ll get the honors to shut him up. He’s angling for a fight against Conor McGregor, which would be ... something indeed. His manager has reportedly reached out to Michael Bisping. And then there’s some winnable options. He’s out there throwing water balloons at Dillon Danis. He called out Ben Askren after his win over Nate Robinson in November.
And while there’s no evidence but a claim from Chael Sonnen (a paragon of truthiness in MMA), there are now persistent rumors that Jake will fight “Funky” on March 28th in Los Angeles.
Askren’s Roufusport training partner and newly signed PFL fighter Anthony Pettis recently revealed he’s reached out to Askren to offer his help in preparing for the bout.
“If you take away the wrestling and just give him gloves on the hands, that’s why I think Jake Paul is going for a guy like Ben,” Pettis told the South China Morning Post. “He has the name but he doesn’t have the hands, but he’s a world-class athlete.”
“I asked him, ‘Yo, are you boxing?’ He was like, ‘Why wouldn’t I?’ He made some good points. I definitely offered my assistance. I love to box, and that’s something I will do before my career ends, I will have a boxing fight, I will have some kind of go in the ring. And to see him get this opportunity man, it’s amazing.”
“He’s one of them guys that’s had bad luck in the UFC, a little bad run with Masvidal and Maia. But for him to go out there and box against one of the biggest YouTube stars and potentially be able to shut this guy up, I’m looking forward to it.”
And while Pettis wasn’t quite ready to say career welterweight Askren had the hands to deal with a 200 pound cruiserweight like Jake Paul, he did dub “Funky” one of the toughest guys he’s sparred with.
“I’ve trained with Ben and I hit him with some crazy stuff and he’s one of the toughest dudes out here, bro.”
We’ll see whether Askren’s perceived weakness on the feet, coupled by his impressive attempt to weave fantasy matchmaking into a firm fight date, pay off. Despite the odds, we like Askren’s chances and have made our peace with the freakshow element the Pauls are bringing to combat sports this year. As I said, we know how things will end.