Superstar celebrity Jake Paul defeated ex-UFC star Ben Askren in a pay-per-view boxing match on Triller on April 17, and perhaps no one from the world of combats sports has yet come up with a more accurate turn of phrase to encapsulate the viewer experience than ex-UFC star and PFL commentator Kenny Florian.
“It was like the Internet just vomited onto the screen,” Florian said.
As seemingly universally beloved as the first Triller pay-per-view event was featuring Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr., the second one that saw Paul demolish Askren in just one round was much more polarizing due to the various choices its producers made to augment the event’s presentation.
In short, there was much less fighting on the Paul vs. Askren boxing pay-per-view card than there were performances by musical acts with celebrities standing by to offer a stream of consciousness-style commentary on everything while drinking alcohol and smoking weed.
Moreover, the event seemed to drag on as there was no one on-site in charge of making the schedule.
“If you’re on the east coast, you were waiting until like 1 am to see this thing, and you were like ‘Please, just end this,’” Florian said.
Of course, Paul did end it quickly once he and Askren finally got into the ring to fight.
If you somehow missed that viral KO, you can watch it below.
Here’s a closer look at Paul’s finish of Askren pic.twitter.com/tlLgHEWKdc
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) April 18, 2021
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Florian on KO: ‘It Was Tough To Watch’
Florian said he wasn’t surprised at the result, but it did sort of make him feel angry.
“Listen, it was a shame to see Askren lose to Jake Paul. I’m not necessarily surprised…Askren has never claimed to be, and has never been, a dangerous striker. What he does best is wrestle guys to the floor and beat them up…,” Florian said.
But Florian believes Paul and the brain trust over at Triller used smart matchmaking to put the 24-year-old relative novice boxer into the right matchup against the right opponent. The result of that work speaks for itself.
“I think that Jake Paul was smart. I’ll give him a compliment. I think he was smart that he chose the right guy for the job in Ben Askren,” Florian said.
Still, Paul’s vicious knockout against Askren did elicit an emotional response.
“But at the same time, Ben Askren does represent the mixed martial arts community to a certain extent, so to me, it was tough to watch,” Florian said.
So Florian experienced the same thoughts and feelings that most of the MMA community likely felt after rallying behind Askren to defeat Paul.
“But to see a guy who is known as a YouTuber knock out another professional fighter? It angered me, okay? I was pissed off, and it was tough to see,” Florian said.
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Who Should Paul Fight Next?
Like many others, Florian doesn’t quite seem convinced yet about Paul’s ability as a boxer. For one thing, Florian wonders how seriously Askren took his training.
“I don’t think he saw this as a tremendous challenge himself. I don’t think he took it that seriously. I don’t think he expected for that to happen,” Askren said.
“I want to see him against another fighter, a guy who can actually stand up and fight,” Florian said.
Former UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley was the name Floridan suggested, but retired UFC “champ champ” Daniel Cormier would likely be just as welcomed.
— Chisanga Malata (@Chisanga_Malata) April 25, 2021
Finding a more suitable opponent for Paul’s next fight seems extremely likely, and Florian remains curious.
“I’m curious. I guess,” said Florian. “I wanna see a challenge.”
But what about all the other stuff that comes with ordering the Triller PPV card? Only time will tell if the combat sports world is willing to buy Paul’s next fight for $49.99.
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