The "fight" between two YouTubers has boxing fans scratching their heads.
By Max Warren
It’s safe to say that boxing purists are disgusted by the idea of two YouTubers with little boxing experience selling out the Staples Center in their pro debuts. They may scoff at the match-up, but KSI and Logan Paul’s first ring encounter was competitive and there is genuine animosity.
It was an amateur fight with headgear and sparring gloves. But on November 9th, there is no headgear and the YouTubers are wearing 10 oz. gloves. In all honesty, the same boxing purists who criticize this main event have undoubtedly witnessed less-legitimate fights on club show undercards. This is a six-round novelty, but both are in decent shape and of equal skill level.
In any business, the most crucial factors are supply and demand. Apparently, a large global market is anticipating this encounter. In fact, it could be the most-watched boxing match of the year. This explains why group managing director of Matchroom Sport, Eddie Hearn, leveraged to get this fight on DAZN. KSI and Logan Paul embarked on a world-wide press tour where impatient crowds went wild. These men carry their legions of YouTube fanatics, and are at the top 1% in terms of boxing popularity without even a pro fight.
Professional boxers who have scraped their way through their careers resent KSI and Logan Paul, and you can’t blame them. Fighters often fight because it’s their only means to support themselves, and it resembles their only hope. On the other hand, these YouTubers are doing this simply because of pride, money, and internet viewership.
For what it’s worth, two-time heavyweight world champion Shannon Briggs is training Logan Paul. If Briggs’ preparation leads Paul to an easy win, it could allow Briggs the opportunity to become a trainer for other fighters and perhaps some notable ones. Briggs loves attention, shouting “Let’s go champ!” wherever he goes. He craves the atmosphere of press conferences, and being the trainer allows him to be there. This opportunity is a win-win for Briggs. He gets to expand his brand, and if Paul wins, Briggs will be seen as a difference-maker.
For the purists who take issue with the main event, undefeated world-class fighters, Billy Joe Saunders and Devin Haney, are featured on the undercard. Haney is excited for an opportunity to gain fans who haven’t seen him before, and Saunders is glad to finally make his U.S. debut. S
Saunders will defend his 168-pound title for the first time against Marcelo Esteban Coceres. In terms of merit, it doesn’t make sense that Haney and Saunders are precursors to the main event. Regardless, they are talented fighters, and fans will get to see them showcase their abilities.
KSI vs. Logan Paul isn’t a disgrace to boxing, and is worth checking out. They are training seriously and actually want to beat up the man in front of them. Their legion of YouTube fans might not care about the undercard, but they should at least respect the dedication and sacrifice that fighters make.