How did we get here? – The sport I love has been ripped apart by new fad intent on disrespecting the boxing greats one event at a time.
Social media followers of “influencers” have taken boxing into the mainstream of pop culture by gutting the true essence of why two people enter the ring to fight in the first place.
Firstly, two men fought on Saturday night and reportedly sold over one million Pay Per Views. One is an entitled, spoiled brat who truly believes he’s a boxing superstar.
Secondly, the other is a faded MMA fighter who never bothered to train or fight to take home $500,000.
We are now in a situation where we can no longer stop this juggernaut. Too many fans are on board and seem to enjoy going to a boxing event and not witness any real boxing.
It’s a sideshow, a clown-fest, and a downright disservice to professional boxers worldwide.
Any actual boxers currently involved in taking part in these shows need to take a long, hard look at their reflection and ask themselves, “Do I want to be a part of something like this?”
Does the problem lie with the headliners or those putting on the events? – Surprisingly, it’s neither.
The boxing authorities’ ultimate damage is handing out pro licenses like Las Vegas strip show flyers.
That’s where the real opposition comes from in this.
We’ve had celebrity boxing in the past, and we have embraced it. We’ve had exhibitions forever and always covered them when they truly capture the imagination of the paying public.
But giving a “vlogger” the chance to be a professional boxer without any intention of trying to compete with other pros is a massive insult.
He’s not a professional boxer and never should be allowed to be. He should go through all the proper channels, including signaling his intention to work his way up the ladder like everyone else.
Due to his social media following, he no longer has to do that. It’s entitlement at its most dishonoring. To give himself a shred of dignity, the wannabe in question should have left the pro side of the sport well alone.
If he still wants to hold any tiny piece of respect from the actual boxing fans ( he has zero at present), renouncing his license and admitting he’s not a professional boxer would be a start.
He has never been one.
His involvement alone had set boxing back fifteen years to the days when fighters didn’t have social media and had to scrap for every crumb.
Boxers certainly had the chance to build their profile and work their way up the right way. Social media came in and offered them help with that immensely.
But now, promoters and fans will look at it as you need millions of followers to do anything in the sport. And how many people are on your Instagram is what should gain attention. Well, it’s not.
It’s entirely the wrong way around. The pretender should have announced himself as a celebrity boxer. That way, he’d keep himself within the confines of his world and separate from the bonafide fighters he has no intention of facing.
In attempting to obliterate that line, let alone crossing it completely, he’s disrespected the sport at the very highest point.
Now, the playing field has completely changed. Anyone who can race to millions of followers, by any means and not even if you can box, could lobby to be given a professional license solely because they can make money.
This scenario is where the disappointment stems. It’s now a whole new ball game.
Boxing is becoming unrecognizable to anything seen before.
These events will take precedent in the calendar and switch coverage away from the real boxers.
You only have to see how many “respected” outlets had covered Saturday to see the cold-hard dollar wins every time.
To our credit, we won’t even mention his name, let alone give him a platform.
The sooner he leaves our sport alone the better.
No doubt he’ll get bored when he’s finished with boxing and “turn professional” at something else. But I fear this will only run and run with other vloggers now the precedent has been set.
It’s no longer a hard slog to become a professional boxer. You can do it merely by getting lucky and finding millions of teenagers to watch whatever drivel you can come up with that day and point a phone camera at.
Alternatively, you can film yourself playing video games. That seems to work to these days.
Then, once your foot is in the boxing door, they can Cherry-pick at the highest order to keep their runs going as long as possible to milk the sport for all it’s worth. This is already in motion.
After over a decade covering boxing from the inside, this is the worst it’s ever been. Furthermore, it will only go downhill from here.
It’s safe to say that boxing as we know it is f***ed. Maybe it’s broken beyond repair.
The views expressed in this article are that of the Editor, Phil Jay. WBN is the top-visited independent boxing news website in the world