As if there wasn’t already enough of an element of a circus sideshow surrounding the celebrity boxing match between Jake Paul and Ben Askren, Friday’s post press conference face-off should put it over the top. The two got into a physical altercation before separating and leaving the press conference.
Promotional company Triller has jumped into the fight game, building events around its Fight Club brand. They began with Mike Tyson’s return in an exhibition opposite Roy Jones Jr., and have only amped up the celebrity aspect.
Triller enlisted YouTube sensation Jake Paul to fight on the Tyson vs. Jones undercard, where he scored his second professional boxing knockout. That came against former NBA star Nate Robinson, who had trained all of about six months for the fight.
With events that blend musical acts into the mix, Triller is diving heavily into two angles. One being the interest in celebrities such as Paul, and the other being the idea of boxers vs. mixed martial artists. With Paul vs. Askren, they have a little bit of both angles in the main event, as well as former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir making his boxing debut opposite veteran boxer Steve Cunningham.
The circus aspect of the event is certainly pushed to the hilt with a personality like Paul, who has gone out of his way to call out MMA fighters in order to prove himself as a boxer. There appears to be a bit of faulty logic there, but it’s working for him. He’s obviously playing on the popularity of MMA to lift himself into the spotlight.
Paul and Askren were part of a press conference in Las Vegas on Friday – again, playing off of the popularity of UFC 260 being held in the city on Saturday – where they talked smack for a while before squaring off for the first time.
The face-off went as one might expect, the two forgoing the safety glass set-up on the stage to get in each other’s faces before things devolved and got physical. Askren face palmed Paul, who returned fire by taking a swing at Askren and shoving him in the back.
With the fight not taking place until April 17, there is sure to be more of this type of promotion coming ahead of the bout, which headlines on pay-per-view.
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Jake Paul and Ben Askren get into altercation during face-off
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