It’s no secret this weekend’s YouTube boxing event has a headlining bout more Marmite than Maltesers as two presenters trade blows for the millennial generation.
Presenters, gamers and pranksters they may be. Professional boxers? – Let’s be frank, they’re not in the same universe.
Anyone can go into the gym. They can get fit to throw a punch. But there’s a whole lot more to the noble art we all love.
So YouTubers fighting and turning pro is making a mockery of the process. This, in my opinion, is lowering the efforts and standards of real fighters.
Making them bonafide by taking away a head guard and throwing a free license at them doesn’t detract from the fact they are just two fellas having a fight.
It could happen in a cinema carpark. Although they just so happen to have millions of followers in their influencer capacity.
That’s the only thing that makes this fight different. But couple that with the notion that we all like to watch a scrap and here were are just days away.
The pair will battle it out over six rounds of what is sure to be windmill city. The likes of world title holders Billy Joe Saunders and Devin Haney will only play a bit-part in what will plainly be a YouTube show screened on boxing platforms.
It’s a sad state of affairs when this kind of event pierces through solely because of money. It’s a damaging precedent for real fight fans to worry about in the longer term.
When the YouTube rivals clashed in August 2018 at the sold-out Manchester Arena in Manchester, that should have been a solitary money grab.
The fact is, it was watched by over one million live pay-per-view buyers on YouTube. Sadly for us, meant it was always heading this way.
Amazingly and conveniently ending in a majority draw, and with a new streaming service hunting new subscribers, the perfect storm transpired for a return.
Now the pair meet once again to ‘settle the score’ in Los Angeles after passing their relevant medical examinations (unknown if they were tested for boxing ability).
For one weekend out of the year, purists and media have to bow down to the demands of social media. We have now realized the hard way just how dominant it can be.
Over 40 million subscribers tune in to watch the two do whatever it is they do online. No active boxers – only the great Floyd Mayweather – can get anywhere near these kind of numbers.
It shows just how far boxing has to go before it can compete with the YouTube era threatening to put boxing, as we know it, on the canvas.
I, for one, will not be alone in counting down the minutes until the final bell rings at Staples Center.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay