The debate rages on as to why YouTube boxing has been allowed into the mainstream, with even the great Floyd Mayweather cited for the beginning of a worrying trend.
Saturday night’s fight being given such a platform has become a massive sore point for boxing fans around the world.
Those passionate about the pure form of the noble art are dead against YouTube presenters with absolutely no skill being allowed to box in the top venues. And on the move lucrative networks.
Some professional boxers can fight their whole careers, putting their lives of the line against dangerous opponents every fight, and they still don’t manage to get there.
Having 40 million followers on a social media channel where most of your subscribers are kids, has somehow become a right of passage for these ‘stars’.
But now, as the gripes continue in the aftermath, a former world title challenger has laid the blame at the door of Mayweather.
Tureano Johnson, a middleweight contender from the Bahamas, says the ‘Money’ man began the trend in 2017. The year before the YouTubers entered the fray.
Mayweather fought Conor McGregor in what became the second highest-grossing event of all time.
Boxing’s biggest earner against MMA’s champ, champ was a crossover clash of the new era.
It allowed Mayweather to move to 50-0 with relative ease. Not to mention the American made a tidy nine-figure sum into the bargain.
Johnson now believes this moment was the catalyst for the money-grabbing we see today. Made worse by Floyd fighting and battering a kickboxer in a New Year’s Eve 2018 exhibition.
Massively out-weighed, Tenshin Nasukawa was taken out in one round of a complete mismatch.
“It became a joke when Floyd fought Conor. And again when Floyd fought a kick Boxer in a boxing match. Yep, it’s been (become) a joke,” said Johnson in response to multi-weight world champion Abner Mares, who also labelled the encounter a joke.
It became a joke when Floyd fought Conor, and again when Floyd fought a kick Boxer in a boxing match. Yep, it’s been a joke.
— Tureano Johnson (@Tureano1984) November 10, 2019
The true boxing fans have been forced to defend their position on social media against the millennial generation who are all for the glitz and glamour of celebrity.
Those who support boxing week in and week out at small hall shows are frustrated that a group of youngsters just uses the sport for one night only every now and then.
Keeping the YouTube, Instagram, Twitch and Tik Tok generation as avid viewers was never going to happen. So to hope for it leading into the event was wrong on every level.
We all know it was two ‘presenters’ capitalizing on their popularity the only way they know how. By doing what anyone on earth could do, extend your arm forcefully to another person’s face.
But actually packaging it as ‘professional boxing’ is where the whole situation veered off in another direction entirely.
Let’s get the facts straight. This is NOT professional boxing. It never will be. It should not be given the kudos.
If it was labelled accordingly and not taken seriously, as in statements like; ‘I could even beat a boxer now’ – then it surely wouldn’t be this hard to swallow for most.
We live in hope for the future. But it could be a long wait.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay