Eddie Alvarez believes Jake Paul is a “better boxer” than Ben Askren, but the intangibles of the fight will be in Askren’s favor.
Askren, who went 1-2 in the UFC and is the former ONE and Bellator welterweight champion, is slated to meet Paul, a YouTube star, in an eight-round pro boxing match in the UFC. While Askren has achieved some amazing things in MMA, the widespread feeling is that he’s actually out-matched in terms of boxing skill against Paul.
Alvarez, who knows Askren well, believes that Paul is indeed the sharper boxer, but added that there are intangibles in play that will favor the MMA veteran.
“In actuality, do I feel like Jake’s a better boxer? After seeing Jake over the past year or so, kind of how committed he is and what he’s doing, yeah, I do feel like he’s a better boxer than Ben,” Alvarez said on MMA Fighting’s What the Heck. “But there’s some intangibles that you really can’t measure that have nothing to do with boxing. That’s like, Ben Askren, he’s just a winner in general. The guy’s been winning longer and knows how to win more than Jake Paul does. So you can’t disregard them kind of intangibles. Hodge Trophy winner, the list goes on and on. NCAA champion. Some of them things, them intangibles, you can’t disregard them.
“Do I feel like Jake’s a better boxer? Yeah,” Alvarez added. “Do I feel like Ben Askren’s just a frickin’ winner altogether, yeah. And I’m not gonna disregard that. I’m looking forward to the spectacle. I’ll be tuning in.”
However the fight ends up going, Alvarez is happy to see Askren cashing in at the end of a long and arduous career in wrestling and mixed martial arts.
“Ben’s a unique guy,” Alvarez said. “You don’t know what to expect with Ben Askren. That goes for him just as a person, that’s how he wrestled. You can’t run from yourself, that’s the type of person he is. I just seen him today on Twitter, he said, ‘In case you guys didn’t notice, I don’t give a sh*t about what any of you guys think of me here.’ And I’m just like, that’s the key to happiness, right? He’s figured it out already and I think everybody else needs to figure it out. But he’s doing his own thing. He’s ‘Groovy Ben.’”
“As far as the fight with Jake Paul, I mean, it will probably be the largest money fight of his career,” Alvarez added. “So anybody like Ben who’s spent their life in combat sports and given their life to something really dangerous, I think they get a chance to reap the benefits of their name, of their brand and everything afterwards by doing what they would see as seemingly an easier competitive match than what the majority of their career was. I think that’s how Ben sees it.”
Like Ben Askren, Eddie Alvarez previously held a title in Bellator. He was also the UFC lightweight champion. At present, he’s chasing another title in ONE Championship. He’ll take another step toward that goal when he fights Iuri Lapicus on April 7 on TNT.