It has been months now since Jake Paul and Ben Askren have been exchanging barbs online, building anticipation for their upcoming Triller Club fight. It peaked at the press conference of the event, where Ben Askren's nonchalance seemed to have caught Jake Paul off-guard.
With only a week remaining before the fight, Ben Askren's Roufusport teammate Mike 'Biggie' Rhodes shared with James Lynch an insight into the gameplan they have for Jake Paul. Rhodes made it clear that they have been largely focused on striking - something that Ben Askren never needed to learn extensively for his MMA career.
The striking Ben Askren will show in the fight might not be like that of an elite boxer, but it should be more than enough to put away a YouTuber-turned-boxer like Jake Paul, Rhodes said.
"To see the improvement... because I have been here since the jump. Me and Ben got at Roufusport about the same time. Back in the day, like eight or nine years ago at this point, and I have seen the evolution. In MMA, he never had to punch. Why would he try - that's the trap that most wrestlers fall into today is they try to be punchers. They wanna be strikers then they forget how to wrestle and they lose their wrestling shape. Ben never needed to do that and so, Ben was always confident in that skillset," Rhoades said.
"So, now that we can't technically wrestle, we've been focused on the striking. Now, is it going to look as if Canelo Alvarez is boxing or something - obviously not, right? But that's not our goal. That wasn't the point. Ben has been saying in interviews. He's not trying to be a boxer, he's just trying to beat a YouTube guy who has moved into boxing," he added.
Watch the interview below:
Who is Ben Askren training under for the Jake Paul fight?
Apart from training under his longtime coach Duke Roufus, Ben Askren has also listed the help of legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach to improve his striking. Ben Askren seemingly has no delusion about his striking skills and is well aware of the fact that he would need all the assistance he can get.
But as Mike Rhodes pointed out, the goal here is not to become a world-class boxer, but to be skilled enough to knockout Jake Paul.
Ben Askren vs Jake Paul will take place on April 17, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.