Though Paul is yet to compete against a pro boxer, he will be facing a combat sports athlete for the first time. Askren is a decorated wrestler and former ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight champion, making him Paul’s sternest test to date.
O’Malley says he’s looking forward to watching the fight and thinks if Paul wants to prove his worth in boxing, he must get past Askren.
“There’s not a lot of fights that excite me, and this ain’t gonna be the best boxing fight,” O’Malley told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at UFC 260 media day on Wednesday. “This isn’t gonna be like a good, technical boxing fight, but I’m excited. I’m excited for that fight. I’m gonna watch it. I’m gonna be excited fight week. I’m gonna watch if they have any little Embeddeds or whatever they’re putting out. I’m watching.
“I wanna see that fight. I don’t know, Ben vs. Jake, it’s exciting. It’s gonna be a sloppy, sloppy fight. Ben’s gonna make it sloppy, which is good for him. Jake, he looks like he’s training hard. He’s young, he’s athletic, so if he doesn’t beat Ben Askren, we’ll see where he goes from there. He has to beat Ben to show he’s a legitimate boxer.”
But despite Askren’s accolade-filled career and experience, O’Malley is leaning towards Paul to get the job done if he’s able to pace himself throughout the fight.
“I wanna say Jake because he’s gonna be a better boxer,” O’Malley said. “Ben’s such a good competitor – it’s not gonna be a good boxing fight. It’s gonna be grueling. God, I hope Jake doesn’t come in there and try to put his lights out in the first round, two rounds. He’s gonna gas out and Ben’s gonna be there.
“Ben’s gonna be there all eight rounds. I don’t think Ben’s gonna gas. I think if Jake comes out calm, stays calm fight week, stays calm fight day, doesn’t get too excited and just blow his load the first couple of rounds, I think he can outbox him. If he stays behind his jab and doesn’t let Ben do what Ben wants to do, I think Jake could get the job done.”