Heading into the long-awaited boxing match between social media superstar Jake Paul and former UFC fighter Ben Askren this weekend, there were many high-profile names in combat sports who questioned whether the YouTube sensation truly belonged in the ring.
The 24-year-old entered his grudge match against decorated grappler Askren with just two professional fights under his belt. The quality of his past opponents was not much to write home about either.
Paul had stopped fellow internet personality AnEsonGib and former NBA player Nate Robinson in his previous bouts. Critics, including UFC president Dana White, felt that Paul would struggle to step up in class against an experienced fighter like Askren.
"Let's be honest, Jake Paul isn't a f***ing boxer," White confidently stated when the fight was first announced. It took less than two minutes in the main event of Saturday's Triller Fight Club pay-per-view event for 'The Problem Child' to prove that assessment wrong.
Paul might not be a seasoned professional yet but slow-motion footage of his first-round demolition of Askren proves that he has plenty of raw ability.
A left jab from Paul was quickly followed by a devastating right hand to the head of Askren. The zoomed-in clip of the shot shows just how brutal it was - with Askren sent crashing to the canvas.
It would be the final blow of the fight as the referee (rightly) called a stop to the bout shortly after.
Throughout his MMA career, Askren was far better known for his wrestling than his striking ability. However, a veteran of 22 MMA fights, the 36-year-old knows how to defend himself.
Unfortunately for Askren, he had no answer for Paul's power when it landed.
It would be premature to say that Paul has a long-term future in boxing. It is, though, hard to argue with what he has shown so far, both in the ring and at the box office.
Whether purists like it or not, Paul generates a lot of interest whenever he fights. Coming off the back of his third-straight knockout win, Paul has shown he has far more skill than most would have given him credit for.
How he fares against a more experienced professional boxer remains to be seen, but his emphatic victory over Askren means that the Jake Paul hype train will continue to roll on.News Now - Sport News