After months of buildup, the fated night that would pit Jake Paul against Ben Askren was finally upon us, and so many were tuned in to watch Jake Paul get knocked out.
The event was hosted by Triller, a company that’s business model appears to be centered around the new “Celebrity Boxing” trend. This is the second of Paul’s fights that were hosted by Triller, with the first one being his fight against Nate Robinson. That was also the same pay-per-view that saw Mike Tyson return to the ring against Roy Jones Jr.
Where many suggest that this company is putting more eyes on boxing and therefore is better for the sport, I have a different opinion.
However, even defenders of “Celebrity Boxing” could not even defend this event.
The event started with a concert from the Black Keys, which was alright, despite the weird audio glitches. Then the event descended into absolute garbage.
It did not start well…
First, the introduction of the commentary team made it clear we were in for a long night. The team rotated a bit as the night went on, but was initially comprised of Mario Lopez, Al Bernstein, some dude named Crimefaces (I do not know either), and Ray Flores. Al Bernstein is a hall of fame color commentator, and Crimefaces seemed competent, but they were immediately pushed aside for the much louder, and much less competent, Mario Lopez and Ray Flores, who were essentially having a contest to see who could curse the most and the loudest.
Fournier vs. Raykon
The first fight of the night started after the Keys performance, pitting reggaeton musician, Raykon, against legitimate boxer and billionaire entrepreneur, Joe Fournier.
This was fight was, according to the commentary team, about a girl. You know, like a WWE fight.
Fournier, who, again, was a professional boxer for a stint, bullied Raykon for two rounds before the ref ended the fight. Raykon did not look like he wanted to be there, which the commentary noted, but then racistly claimed was because the “language barrier” kept him from understanding what he signed up for. Fournier was clearly going for the knockout, trying to prove himself a worthy next opponent for Jake Paul (yeah boxing is doing great).
You may have missed part of this fight, but not by your own fault.
Saweetie Was There…
Oh, you paid fifty dollars for this event to watch some fighting? Well too bad, because now it was time for the musical performances.
The first performance was Saweetie, who’s lip sync was so off that it quickly became a meme.
And some streamers got a little tired of the performance…
The Only Good Musical Performance…
The Saweetie performance went on for what felt like thirty minutes, and was immediately followed by a performance from “Mt. Rushmore”. This was a rap group that consisted of Ice Cube, E-40, Too $hort, and Snoop Dogg, who was all over this event. This performance was actually pretty decent, even if it went for nearly forty minutes. Although, someone should have informed the performers that they were not in front of a live audience.
Just a reminder, Snoop Dog is almost fifty, yet looked and sounded like the most convincing of the four perfomers.
The Fever Dream Continues
After nearly an hour of musical performances, it should have been time for the next fight… Nope.
At this point, we got a pre-recorded video of a “slap-fight” which was officiated by Ric Flair. It was at this point that I started to realize that this production was definitely the product of men in a room with drugs.
I mean, this was an event that saw Pete Davidson constantly doing backstage interviews, appearances from Mike Tyson, Evander Hollyfield, Chuck Lidell, Charli, and Dixie D’Amelio, and Snoop Dogg constantly drinking and smoking with… literally everyone. You did not need to be drinking, everyone on the production team already had been.
Oh, but drinking helped…
Doja Cat Is Also Here
In case you forgot that this was a concert with boxing intermissions, we went a full two hours between boxing matches.
At this point, Twitter was already tired of the musical performances and just wanted to see some fighting, so the memes got a little thin. Although, the streamers were still having fun.
This was followed by an actually kind of touching tribute to the late, great, DMX. Rest in Power.
An Actual Fight!
Finally, some combat!
The next match on the card pit MMA legend Frank Mir against Steve Cunningham, a legitimate boxer. There was a seventy-pound weight difference in this scrap, and it was obvious. Mir, the heavier fighter, was winded by the third round, while Steve Cunningham just bounced around him and toyed with his opponent. Cunningham won handily by unanimous decision and sent Mir back into retirement.
However that is not the story of this fight…
Oscar De La Hoya Does Commentary
I say, “Does Commentary” when I mean screams whatever thought he has at the top of his lungs despite being in front of a microphone and being in an empty arena.
De La Hoya was wired, going absolutely nuts in the booth, and completely ruining the fight for everyone. At least we got some memes out of it.
Even Dana White had jokes.
Things were not going well… but they would get worse.
Another musical performance…
Major Lazer performed, despite being irrelevant since 2016. then some lady sang the national anthem but had her mic muted for the first half of the song. No thoughts, just disappointment.
The cringe reaches it’s climax
It was time for the co-main event of the night, which would pit Regis Prograis against Ivan Redkach. Both fighters actually looked competent and composed, going back and forth in the early rounds. Eventually, Prograis would get the upper hand, opening up a cut on the left side of Redkach’s head.
Then the sixth round… I am just going to roll the tape here.
Redkach threw himself on the ground and rolled around in pain after a legal body blow, claiming he got punched below the belt. The commentary booth, who had reviewed the tape, knew this was bull, the fighters in the ring who could see the review on the ‘tron knew this was bull, the viewers at home knew this was bull, yet it went on for fifteen minutes.
Why yes, it did go too far! How did you know?
At this point, there was very little chance of redeeming the mess that had been this pay-per-view.
But they tried…
Justin Bieber Puts In No Effort
I am not opposed to having live music at a combat event. I think it could liven up the crowd, keep the production from getting stale, and give the fights a big-money feel. However, when done poorly, they bore the audience to sleep and suck all of the fun out of the room.
After a miserable finish to the co-main event, Justin Bieber could have brought the energy back up and gotten everyone excited for the main event. He has a great musical library to pull from and could have been a high point for a lousy show.
He did not do that.
Justin Bieber decided, what this combat event needed was his three slowest and most emotional songs. There is no world in which Justin Bieber made the right decision here, and it does not take hindsight to see that.
Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren
Now, it was time for the thing people actually paid for.
Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren had the feel of a big-money feel. There was a clear hero and a villain. Everyone had chosen their sides. Each side had its motivations clearly laid out, and it was time to throw down.
Snoop Dogg and Pete Davidson got on commentary for this match, and although they did not contribute much in terms of knowledge, they were unquestionably invested in the outcome and wanted to see some combat. They were smoking blunts, chilling out, and gave the audience some rest from the chaos that had been the commentary booth.
Jake Paul, the amateur boxer that many doubted, actually looked great. Very disciplined, great punches, and good movement. There was not a clear flaw in his game plan, although that may have revealed itself in the later rounds.
Ben Askren was clearer taking the fight as a joke. He looked fine, but he did not look well trained in the ring. His hands were lower than they needed to be, and a clear foot in front of his face. He obviously was relying on his UFC training, which does not translate to the boxing ring.
Jake Paul threw plenty of power punches, many of which landed clean on Askren’s head. Two minutes in, Jake threw one of these power strikes after a great step in and sent Ben to the ground. Ben took an eight-count, came up wobbly, and the ref called the match.
Many called this an early stoppage, but even if the ref lets the fight go on, Jake was fighting very well and was going to crumple Askren again quickly.
Jake Paul transcends to an impressive 3-0, and the speculation on his next opponent has already started. Of course, Fournier wants his shot, but that would not produce as much money as Paul is going to want. Paul may be wanting to protect his undefeated record, but if he is not, there are plenty of money matches available. Mayweather was supposed to fight Logan Paul in February, but that fight was delayed, and maybe even canceled, due to lack of interest, so he may be available. Oscar De La Hoya is an interesting pick.
However, there is one name that would drown Paul in money. If he loses in July, Paul and Triller need to book it immediately…