After months of trash talk, Jake Paul and Ben Askren are finally set to meet inside the boxing ring TONIGHT (Sat. April 17, 2021) inside Mercedes-Benz Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to the bad blood-fueled main event, there’s a Light Welterweight match in the co-main event between actual boxers Regis Prograis and Ivan Redkach. Before that pugilistic battle, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion, Frank Mir, will make his own crossover to the ring opposite former Cruiserweight kingpin Steve Cunningham.
Let’s break down some fights!
Cruiserweight: Jake Paul (2-0) vs. Ben Askren (0-0)
Typically, when predicting a fight, the first thing I like to look at is precedents. Does one athlete struggle with a specific style? What is their usual path to victory? This is — to my knowledge — the first real match up of f—kwit vs. wrestler to take place in a boxing ring, so that leaves me flying rather blind in terms of my preferred method for determining victory.
When there’s little historical info available, my next divination strategy involves looking at the raw attributes of each man. Jake Paul is 24 years of age, stands 5’10,” and has a 76-inch reach. He appears to punch fairly hard for a relative boxing newcomer. Askren, meanwhile, is 36, supposedly matches his foe’s height (you look at the featured picture above and tell me), and has four fewer inches of reach.
More important, I cannot remember a single time Askren hurt his foe with standing punches in his 22-fight pro career. On an “insider” note, I once had a former coach of Askren’s laughingly describe just how unathletic the “Funky” wrestler was even in his prime.
MMA fighters don’t do well in the boxing ring even if they’re decent kickboxers in the cage. Askren wasn’t that, and despite his generally irritating nature, Paul appears to be taking boxing seriously.
The bottom line is this: I’d predict most young, athletic boxing hobbyists would have little trouble with Askren. Why not Paul, who has access to the best training money can buy?
Prediction: Paul via decision
Light Welterweight: Regis Prograis (25-1) vs. Ivan Redkach (23-5-1 (1))
I can only hope these two actual boxers are being well-compensated for providing this event with a touch of legitimacy.
A power puncher widely considered one of the five best Light Welterweights alive, Prograis has captured both the WBA and WBC titles in his career, though a 2019 loss to Josh Taylor cost him his straps. He fought just once in 2020 to return to the win column, but “Rougarou” has stopped a serious majority of his opponents via knockout.
Ukrain’s Redkach, meanwhile, has knocked out 18 foes himself, including a sixth-round finish of former world champion Devon Alexander. That victory earned him a showdown opposite Danny Garcia, but “Swift” outworked him to score the decision win.
Historically, Prograis has better wins and consistency against top-notch competition, rightfully making him the favorite. In addition, his excellent counter punching seems well-poised to punish Redkach’s range strikes. While both men have power, Prograis is definitely the more fearsome hitter, so Redkach’s path to victory seems littered with danger.
Prediction: Prograis via knockout
Heavyweight: Frank Mir (0-0) vs. Steve Cunningham (29-9-1)
Oh boy, this is a terrible idea.
Frank Mir, the noted submission master, has already suffered 10 knockout losses in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. In the most recent, journeyman Javy Avala broke Mir’s jaw inside the Bellator cage. Now 41 years of age, Mir will try his hand as a boxer against a former world champion.
On the fortunate side for Mir, Cunningham is 44 himself, and he’s never been a particularly heavy hitter. That does not change the reality of the situation though: Cunningham is a vastly superior boxer, and he’s going to beat the piss out of Mir.
I don’t know that there’s much to analyze here. Cunningham is going to send long straight shots into the mush of Mir’s face nearly at will. This one is very, very unlikely to go the distance.
Prediction: Cunningham via knockout
For the complete Triller Fight Club PPV line up and musical guests for April 17 click here. And remember, MMAmania.com will deliver live stream results, including play-by-play updates, of the Paul vs. Askren PPV right here.