Twitter has wondered aloud if former UFC star Ben Askren might be in over his head in Saturday’s boxing match against YouTuber Jake Paul after he displayed what could charitably be described as a ‘beer belly’ at the weigh-ins.
Former ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight champion Askren will add the term ‘professional boxer’ to his extensive combat sports resume this weekend when he takes on professional prankster and infamous internet personality Paul – but some fans are concerned for the former Olympic wrestler after his showing on the scales.
Askren registered a weight of 191lbs – just a half pound less than Paul – but their physiques couldn’t have been much more different, as the former mixed martial arts star’s ‘dad bod’ has led to concern in some quarters that he hasn’t taken the bout as seriously as it may require.
Of course, Askren has never had the type of physique of some of his more svelte peers in MMA – but the fact remains that he is a retired athlete who is six or so months removed from serious hip surgery.
Paul, meanwhile, cut a far more lean and mean figure on the scales (where he was bizarrely accompanied by a giant robot) and showed off his best Conor McGregor impression, borrowing the Irishman’s trademark yell and throat-slit gesture as he stepped on the scales.
Paul has repeatedly stated in the media that he sees himself fighting McGregor at some point in the next 24 months.
But before any of that might happen, he must first bypass the challenge posed by Askren in the ring on Saturday night in Atlanta, Georgia – and some fans online think he might be in for some easy work after the evidence of Friday’s weigh-ins.
My money is on Jake Paul after seeing Ben Askren’s beer belly at the weigh ins. Did he even sparr?
— Eugeńe Araba (@pitchblackkenya) April 17, 2021
This is a joke he isn’t even in shape bro you got this jake
— Anthony Pollino (@AtonyNiNo) April 17, 2021
“My money is on Jake Paul after seeing Ben Askren’s beer belly at the weigh-ins. Did he even spar?” wondered one fan, while another trolled Askren, saying: “Bro, you should have got in shape for this fight.”
Another of Paul’s fans said, “This is a joke. He isn’t even in shape bro. You got this Jake.“
The online backing of Jake Paul isn’t entirely unanimous, however, with some others pointing out that Askren has never had the type of muscular physique which might make the covers of Men’s Health magazine – but that he remains more than capable of getting the job done inside a combat sports arena.
Jake Paul: Look at the guy, he has a beer belly…Just want Ya’ll to remember that Ben Askren is a Bellator and One Champion that fought some world class guys, was an Olympian and teaches kids to wrestle. He has made a career in a Dad Bod.
— Poke (@Poke_FPS) April 17, 2021
In a weird way, the way Ben Askren looked at the face off puts some pressure on Jake Paul. If he loses a boxing match to a wrestler with a hip replacement and a beer belly his faux-boxing career is over lol.
— Donovan Duncan (@Donnie_MD333) April 17, 2021
‘Cause I’m about to ruinThe image and the style that ya used to I look funky. But yo I’m makin’ money, see So yo world I hope you’re ready for me. pic.twitter.com/AdD3tSfFb8
— Funky (@Benaskren) April 16, 2021
“Just want Ya’ll to remember that Ben Askren is a Bellator and One Champion that fought some world class guys, was an Olympian and teaches kids to wrestle. He has made a career in a Dad Bod,” said one.
Another stated that the jibes being directed at Askren after the weigh-in actually place further pressure on Paul to look impressive as he competes against an actual fighter for the first time in his still-developing boxing career.
“If he loses a boxing match to a wrestler with a hip replacement and a beer belly his faux-boxing career is over,” they wrote.
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Whatever ends up happening in the ring late Saturday night, Paul has proved that he can suitably deploy his sizeable audience into the boxing sphere, and this is something that will always interest fight promoters looking to make a quick buck.
But it does remain to be seen exactly what light we will look upon Jake Paul’s apprenticeship into combat sports on Sunday morning once the dust has settled of what should be a hugely profitable, but perhaps athletically-devoid eight rounds in the ring.