Sunday is my favourite day of the week.
It’s a weekly hungover-themed sports marathon in the bloke cave. A near on 12-hour sports marathon every other Sunday when you get UFC from eight in the morning into boxing into AFL with basketball and college football thrown in the mix.
(One day I hope the missus allows me four TVs but for now the laptop and TV has to juggle the load).
This Sunday was no different, after ignoring my bladder for an hour I arose in agony. The thought of all day sport on my mind as I took the scenic route to the couch past the dunny, Panadol and left over pizza, a kind of heaven for the suffering.
But there was to be an imposter on this holiest of sports days, a succubus, a false idol. That false idol was Jake Paul versus Ben Askren in a boxing match.
For the readers that aren’t quite sure what a Jake Paul is, he is a youtube star. A pioneer of a new kind of fame, youtube fame. Jake Paul’s rise to stardom consisted of him making videos on the internet directed at pre-teen girls.
He was incredibly successful at this amassing more than 20 million subscribers. His personality type would be best described as putrid. He does seem to possess self awareness though, as he seems to play up to his wanker traits.
Unfortunately for the world he has recently branched out into celebrity boxing. Even more unfortunate for the world, he is actually not bad at it. He possesses an undefeated 3–0 “pro” boxing record. It’s enough to make you throw up.
All three of these “pro fights” have come against people in their first boxing match, Another youtuber, a retired basketballer and now an olympic wrestler.
That Olympic wrestler is Ben Askren. Ben Askren is a phenomenal combat athlete, he translated his olympic level wrestling into an MMA Career where he went 19–2 the last two fights of his career being his losses as he fought some of the best in the world well past his prime.
During his MMA Career he displayed absolutely zero striking talent, but boy could he wrestle. If you looked at his record you would see a few victories by way of TKO (punches) I assure you every last one of these is a result of wrestling you into a position where he would rain down punches from above.
Back to my Sunday. I laid on the couch and turned on the UFC and was quickly treated to some genuine punch ons between highly-trained athletes. I watched, placed losing bets, contemplated tinnies, and talked some trash on the internet. Life was good, life was as it should be.
Then as I was placing yet another losing punt, I noticed the heading Paul V Askren, I scoffed in disgust at the thought of watching a very obvious smoke and mirrors event as opposed to what would be Robert Whittaker versus Kelvin Gastelum.
I checked the odds. As any combat sports fan would know Ben Askren could not even remotely box, I took Paul by KO and turned my attention back to the UFC. After a round one submission I had time to burn before the next fight and the footy had not yet begun.
I turned to the dark side. I pulled out the laptop and purchased the Askren versus Paul fight. Whatever I thought, at the very least this will be entertaining to have while I wait between real fights. Slowly I found myself focusing on the laptop more and more. Like watching a train wreck. Corny sideshow after Corny sideshow. Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Mount Westmore!
(God I’m disappointed in myself) Doja Cat, Justin Beiber. This was a pay per view boxing card. Then we had the undercard, a ‘slap match’ officiated by nursing home ready Ric Flair, another match with an old as balls MMA fighter and then the only legitimate boxers of the night.
That fight ended via dive as one of the boxers laid on the ground for 15 minutes getting his nuts checked by a doctor after being hit by a glancing blow to the hip.
But still I watched. Like a train wreck I watched more and more focusing on the circus and not the real sport being played out a five degree head turn away. Then the inevitable happened, the youtube star knocked out the olympian. Now for any person with a brain worth more than the space it takes up would know that this is a dirty trick.
Jake Paul found precisely the right opponent that he could easily beat in a boxing match that would seem like a hard fight.
In reality if they were to engage in a ‘fight’ Old man Ben Askren would have dumped him on his head and rode him around the ring like a pony.
But I watched. I missed the first two rounds of the UFC main event watching this sad excuse for sport.
I was poisoned.
Then salvation, Robert Whittaker put on an absolute master class. Rob has always been an amazing fighter. A former champion who faced down one of the scariest human beings on the planet in Yoel Romero not once but twice, who then went on to lose in spectacular fashion to the now middleweight champ Israel Adesanya had taken defeat admirably.
Rob returned to the octagon after losing his title turning away Darren until, Jarrod Canonier and now Kelvin Gastelum in a truly humbling display of True Blueism. He didn’t talk smack, he didn’t complain, he didn’t make a song or dance. What he did do is work, he enlisted the help of Tim Tszyu.
He worked on his wrestling even more than he previously did (enough to get him near a commonwealth games guernsey). He cherished his family at every turn proudly proclaiming his inspiration is his family. Rob is a genuinely wholesome dude. He is the guy that so much media training tries to get others to pretend they are.
Rob Whittaker is an athlete our entire nation should be behind and it doesn’t happen. I don’t know why, he embodies the traits of an Aussie athlete to a T. He proudly displays the Southern Cross and Shouts ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie’ to his team. He is humble and confident, he takes defeat equally as well as he takes victory. And he never gives up.
Rob Whittaker is the ‘good’ in sport and Jake Paul is the evil.
Combat Sport has an ugly dark corner of WWE Idiocracy-style match ups at the moment and if we as fans aren’t careful it could continue to rise.
As If the sports gods were mocking me, the only bet I won for the day Was Jake Paul by KO.
I will never miss another round of Rob’s for that rubbish and I hope none of you do either.