When Logan Paul and KSI headlined a pro-boxing show, I wasn’t happy. 2 non-boxers were headlining a PPV show on Sky Sports. “How is this boxing?” I cried, largely to myself. I described their licensing as “a transparent attempt to give the bout legitimacy.”
Guess what, it worked.
The loser of that fight – not the winner – is now set to face Floyd Mayweather in a “Super Exhibition” (answers on a postcard as to how it is different from a standard one) in February 2021. Cue derision and death knolls for boxing again. It seems like commenters on the sport enjoy writing its obituaries as much as the actual boxing. While the sport does tend to shoot itself in the foot, there are many within the industry all too happy to place the bullets in the chamber.
Kevin Iole for example, recently about how Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford not happening right now means the pair are “contributing to boxing’s fall from grace”. I actually agree that is massively frustrating but the sport has been getting away with this sort of “marinating” for decades and will continue to do so. Iole references the lack of crossover household names in boxing. Yet the sport still generates millions of dollars and pays the top stars accordingly. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of problems within the sport but it is far from terminal.
And that leads us back to the latest in a long line of supposed killer blows.
According to many, the introduction of YouTubers is the worst thing to happen to boxing, ever. Forget the death threats between fighters, the convicted felons earning millions and the alleged dubious funding of the sport. Non-boxers claiming they’re boxers is too far!
These people come into our sport – with their millions of paying fans – and undo all of the hard work that season pros have done for years. There are thousands of hardworking lads up and down the country who are missing out on these opportunities. It’s not fair!
The previous paragraph is true of the YouTubers. It is also true for many actual boxers. The business has always been about more than the sport. Countless boxers work for years without fair reward. They dedicate their lives to a brutal business and are often left with very little to show for it. Many fail before even getting underway in the paid ranks. Successful amateurs who don’t sell enough tickets are forced into the away corner for opportunities. Even those in the home corner often don’t even break even after all the sums are done.
That is the harsh reality, irrespective of the YouTubers making their millions. Contrary to what many in the sport would have you believe, they aren’t taking money out of the pockets of other fighters. The 7 figure paydays only stem from their own popularity. If Logan Paul didn’t bring 5.8 million Twitter followers potentially paying $24.95 a head, that money wouldn’t be in boxing to begin with.
They’re doing what many boxers before them have done and are playing the game. They’re playing it brilliantly alongside Floyd himself. They have reinvented a revenue stream that any boxing promoter would envy. If you doubt the likes of Hearn and Warren would be jealous, take note of those involved and those who aren’t. There will be a significant split on the takes of those earning and those missing out.
You may be annoyed, intrigued, frustrated or indifferent. You may think that it’s a farce, it isn’t worth the money, that it won’t be competitive or that there are more deserving contenders.
How is this not boxing?