After last weekend’s ‘clown-fest,’ our sport needs to take a long, hard look at itself and drop influencer boxing like a bad habit.
Major platforms are beginning to get the message. However, DAZN just signed a five-year deal with a YouTuber who put on the most excruciating show yet on Saturday night.
It may come down to fans choosing between real boxing and DAZN moving forward. And to a business hemorrhaging money by the day, it could be a long half-decade.
Boxing fans, media, and professionals are getting sick of the disrespect shown by the newly-named ‘crossover boxing.’ Especially after witnessing the weigh-in events of last Friday.
The acting and pre-construed scenes have no place in the sport. They belong in WWE and off any network or streaming service that proclaims to be serious about the sport.
Influencer boxing deal
It looks as though Showtime got the memo. However, DAZN didn’t and decided to make the astonishing decision to commit.
Predictions that the deal will not make it to the end are already circulating like sharks in the water.
After watching some of the show, Oscar De La Hoya called for boxing to regain control of the sport.
Golden Boy promoter De La Hoya said: “Can we just go back to real boxing soon?”
Boxing legend Juan Manuel Marquez has reminded those involved that our sport is not a game.
“It [influencers taking professional places] hurts boxing,” Marquez said. “I remember how someone asked the coach if he wanted his son to become a boxer, and the coach said no. Boxing is a difficult sport, but everyone wants to be a boxer.
“I consider this attitude disrespectful. Boxing needs to be taken seriously. The fighter trains and prepares. The fighter leaves all of himself in the ring.
“It’s not fair to have a blogger [YouTuber], former basketball player, or former NFL player fighting in the ring.
“Boxing deserves respect. This is not a game. When you fight, your life is at stake, and that’s how respect for the sport is lost.”
Isaac Lowe, a big friend of Tyson Fury and a boxer in his own right, added: “Wow, the [British] Boxing Board of Control should have something to do about this. How do you let this go on TV?
“Promoters should be embarrassed by themselves. [They’ll do] anything for money. People’s lives are on the line. DAZN Boxing, what are you doing here?”
Let’s hope those putting YouTubers above the sport’s integrity get the message before it’s too late.