Saturday night witnessed the ultimate evolution of boxing’s Pay-Per-View generation as two vloggers decided to don massive pairs of gloves and head guards for something that didn’t remotely resemble a boxing match.
At best, KSI versus Logan Paul was a glorified sparring session for internet-famous people, known mainly by those around the age range of 13 to 30 years old.
What was better suited to Celebrity Boxing for Red Nose Day was turned into a multi-million-pound event, solely due to KSI and Logan Paul taking advantage of their considerable fan bases.
The word ‘fight’ should be used very loosely in the context the vloggers used it, as a six-round match-up with huge gloves and not much risk of being hurt doesn’t constitute the turmoil real boxers go through inside the ropes.
Hyped up ‘beef’ between KSI and Logan Paul would have been best served in a bareknuckle bout, as at least then the pretenders could have settled their ‘differences’ like men.
Sadly, boxing was once again taking advantage of as two people with no links to the sport and not much interest in giving anything back took massive paychecks for what was a non-event in boxing terms.
The fact that some professionals gave it their backing is neither here nor there and criticism of those that did is unwarranted as the spotlight was shone on the sport to a new set of fans, of which maybe a few will now take an interest.
But most will just use the platform given to witness their favourite YouTuber in action and won’t get a fair reflection of what real boxers do day in and day out.
Bottom line is boxing gets nothing from KSI v Logan Paul but bad press and abuse to those involved by many who know absolutely zero about the sport we all love.
Looking at some of the Twitter responses to pro fighters, some of whom have challenged for or held world titles, has been shocking as the internet fans big up their YouTubers as potential world beaters – which is completely laughable.
What does boxing get from KSI v Logan Paul in the long run? A stark warning as to where the sport is headed if anyone with a few million followers can just dip their toes in and take no risks before walking off with millions of dollars. Completely in contrast to the grafting fighters who put their lives on the line to earn peanuts in comparison.
The animosity will only grow on both sides of the fence, and I for one just cannot see the good that came from what so many chose to witness and pay for on Saturday night.
From Fortnite dancing in the ring to a decision that leads to a certain rematch, a darkness was cast over the sport for those few hours the event lasted.
Any future events, and there will be many, should be labelled under something other than boxing and not attributed in any way to the professional code. Calling it show-sparring or websports doesn’t have the same pull to make people click that PPV button though, so these events are always likely to be called ‘fights’ and nothing else for the foreseeable.
Do KSI and Logan Paul care about the potential long-term effects ‘playing boxing’ can have, probably not, as both walked away with tens of millions of dollars for what was ultimately a celebrity event that didn’t have a shred of anything to do with true pugilism.
What they’ve done is open the floodgates to many more spectacles of the same ilk, which ultimately will compete against ‘real’ events and only be detrimental down the line.
Anyone with a few million subscribers will now have a lightbulb over their head and think boxing is an easy target to make a quick bucket of cash, with even future YouTube Boxing Promotions company a possibility down the line.
Who knows where it will all end…
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay