Editor’s be aware: This text was initially printed on USAToday.com.
A brutal knockout of retired NBA participant Nate Robinson in November elevated Jake Paul’s standing as a boxer. However not sufficient to finish the skepticism.
Dana White, the president of UFC, has mentioned he would wager $1 million that Paul will lose to retired MMA fighter Ben Askren of their boxing match Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
When requested about White’s remark, Paul replied, “He is likely one of the many bird-brained folks on the market who don’t perceive that Jake Paul is an actual fighter.”
This week, Paul is dealing with extra critical questions than whether or not he’s an actual fighter.
TikTok persona Justine Paradise has accused Paul of sexual assault. In a 20-minute YouTube video posted Friday, Paradise, 24, accused Paul, additionally 24, of forcing her into having oral intercourse throughout a July 2019 social gathering at his Workforce 10 residence in Calabasas, California.
On Tuesday, Paul issued a written assertion through which he dismissed Paradise’s declare as a seize for consideration conveniently timed earlier than his struggle Saturday.
“Not solely have I by no means had any sexual relationship with this particular person, however this declare is solely a manufactured accusation and a blatant try for consideration throughout a extremely seen struggle week,” Paul mentioned.
Paul is getting into his fourth boxing match (third as a professional) and has but to struggle a skilled boxer. Though he’s undefeated, Paul’s first two opponents have been YouTube celebrities, adopted by Robinson, a retired NBA participant who was making his boxing debut on Nov. 28 when he was floored by a crushing proper hand from Paul.
So, actual fighter? Or only a superstar boxer?
The reply must be clearer Saturday night time.
“Jake thinks he’s a high-level boxer,’’ Askren mentioned. “I believe he’s pretty delusional.”
Askren, 36, can be making his professional boxing debut, however he has authentic combating credentials. He was 19-2 as knowledgeable MMA fighter and beat Robby Lawler, a former UFC welterweight champion.
Askren additionally was a two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion and competed at the 2008 Olympics.
“Yeah, he’s an actual fighter,’’ Paul mentioned. “And that’s why I needed to do that struggle, is to point out the world like this actual fighter is getting with Jake Paul and he’s going to get KO’d in two rounds.”
The eight-round cruiserweight struggle can be out there on FITE TV, a subscription charge streaming web site, and on pay-per-view for $49.99 at Triller and thru different retailers.
Throughout an interview with USA TODAY Sports activities, Paul addressed quite a lot of matters, comparable to whether or not he must struggle a skilled boxer to be thought-about an actual fighter.
“To be trustworthy, I don’t assume the reply is sure,’’ he mentioned. “I believe if I used to be making an attempt to change into a world champion, then, sure. Then I must struggle somebody who was skilled in boxing their entire whole life. However that’s not my aim.
“I believe the aim is I wish to change into the most important prizefighter on the planet, which might imply getting paid greater than [Floyd] Mayweather and getting paid greater than [Conor] McGregor.”
JAKE PAUL VS. BEN ASKREN: To observe the struggle, go right here.
Paul mentioned he’s had mind scans to see what diploma of trauma he has skilled. Then why expose himself to extra danger?
“I determine I’m smarter than the common individual anyhow,” he mentioned. “So if I take a few hits to the mind, I’ll be positive.”
Concerning the mind trauma, he mentioned he suffered “a ton of concussions’’ enjoying soccer and wrestling when he was rising up in Ohio. He started boxing about three years in the past.
“Even once I received my mind scan earlier than I used to be boxing, it already wasn’t good,’’ he mentioned. “I’ve had three fights, which isn’t loads on paper. However what folks don’t see is the 400 sparring periods that I’ve had prior to now 3½ years.
“So it’s actually one thing that has been developed in sparring as a result of even in my previous two fights I didn’t get hit as soon as within the head.”
Requested about his signs from mind trauma, Paul mentioned, “It’s very refined. Nevertheless it goes to point out I’m sacrificing the whole lot fairly actually to do that. I’ve modified my entire whole life to dedicate myself to this sport.
“Simply nonstop boxing, nonstop restoration, nonstop energy and conditioning. You’re maintaining a healthy diet, you may’t celebration, you may solely have intercourse as soon as per week. You’re sacrificing just about the whole lot. And I wouldn’t wish to have it some other approach.’
Although he known as White a hen mind, Paul mentioned he welcomes the naysayers and doubters.
“It motivates me greater than phrases can clarify,’’ he mentioned. “There’s some days the place I don’t really feel like practising or stretching or doing ice baths or consuming flavorless hen with rice.
“However I simply keep in mind all these folks, all these thousands and thousands of individuals, ready to see me fail. And it’s nearly like I put my again in opposition to the wall on goal, in order that I’m forcing myself to work more durable and change into higher.
“It’s no strain, no diamond, proper? The strain for me has at all times pushed me to be superb.”