Mike Tyson made a cardinal sin after his comeback from a fifteen-year absence by basically saying boxing wouldn’t be able to compete without YouTubers.
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but ESPN+ and Top Rank have been seeing record numbers lately, even during the pandemic.
But for Mike to say the sport needs YouTubers is way off the mark. They’ve appeared on a small number of shows without much effect on ratings, and their first significant show only sold 1.3 million on YouTube when costing just ten dollars.
If it were so big, the sales would have been far more than that.
On Sky Sports Box Office in the UK, even with a huge promotion, the event bombed. Just 216,000 bought it. Those stats made it one of the worst of all time on the network.
This point alone makes Mike Tyson’s comments unfathomable and proves he may not be too zoned in on what’s going on in the sport.
Speaking after his return in a draw with Roy Jones Jr., ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ said: “Listen, my ego says so many things, but my reality is they help boxing so much.
“Boxing owes these guys. They owe these YouTube boxers some respect. They should give them some belts because these guys make boxing alive.”
Going even further with unwarranted comparisons to the UFC, Tyson concluded: “Boxing was pretty much a dying sport. UFC was kicking our butts.
“Now we got these YouTube boxers boxing with 25 million views. Boxing’s going back. Thanks to the YouTube boxers.”
Internet views don’t tell the full story of any headline event, either. As if you head back to Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor, a show that brought both sides together.
The clash sold over four million Pay Per Views in 2017, just three years ago. That doesn’t sound like a dead sport. The ‘All Access’ shows alone have been viewed 47 million times on YouTube.
YouTubers do indeed bring in some viewers. But the majority are youngsters who won’t stay more than the one fight, let alone the whole event.
Their involvement does nothing for our sport. It only serves to make a mockery of the professional process.
How can you have a YouTuber holding a license that means the same as every other professional and yet not fighting any professionals himself?
If you want to be a boxer, then be a boxer and dedicate your life to it. Don’t just pick it up when you feel like and drop it back down again when you are done.
Mike Tyson felt like he needed a boost to his PPV. I don’t think he did as he’s a big enough name himself.
Maybe he was given information that gave him the urge to add a vlogger, but I highly doubt that would significantly make any significant difference to the main event.
Boxing doesn’t need anyone, YouTuber or not, to give a helping hand in this way. We need the professional process to remain sacred.
As soon as ‘professionals’ came into this arrangement pairing internet presenters and boxing promoters, the sport has a black eye.
You cannot have anyone masquerading as ‘professionals’ in a dangerous sport. Just ask Nate Robinson.
If you must have them on a card, then keep it in an exhibition format. If this doesn’t happen, that’s when boxing will suffer further – for real.
The views expressed in this article are that of the Editor, Phil Jay. WBN celebrated its 10th Anniversary on August 1st, 2020, and is the top-visited independent boxing news website in the world.
Phil Jay is an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay