By Zayyan Ahmed: June 6 was the biggest upset in boxing history as internet personality Logan Paul went the distance in the 8 round exhibition fight against Floyd Mayweather. Paul, weighing in 35 pounds more and having a 6inch height advantage while being 18 years younger than Floyd, had all eyes on him.
Though he lacked experience like Floyd, who was undefeated in his astonishing 25year career as a professional boxer and earning an estimated net worth of 1.2 billion. Still, people were very interested in the event as the fight exceeded one million paper-view buys.
Even though it was an exhibition fight done for entertainment, the spectacle lucrative event will change the sport forever. Celebrities and YouTubers stepping in the ring has become the new norm and was started when the popular British Youtuber KSI challenged Paul back in September of 2019 in a sold-out Staple center. The event exceeded everyone’s expectations and managed to generate 1.3 million paper-view buys with 800,000 live concurrent viewers.
Now that the dust has settled, many questions how these events will affect boxing and are they good or bad for the sport. In my eyes, there are both pros and cons to these events.
Starting off with the pros to these occurrences brings a lot of new eyeballs to the sport of sweet science. Youngsters who are active on the internet will get more aware about boxing and might find a new passion. This is much more superior than just sitting around all day playing video games. More so, some individuals who can get good at it can turn this into their profession.
Other than that, these events can be very lucrative as many people are compelled to see these events. Most professional boxing fights don’t even tend to sell this much, meaning the sport had been very dry since the depart of fighters like Floyd Mayweather, who broke the record for most paper-view buys in 2015 against his fight with Manny Pacquiao.
This shows how profitable boxing actually be not just for the fighters but also anyone involved in the sport.
Aside from that, nobody can ignore the fact of how entertaining these celebrity boxing events are. Most people don’t really care about the background of the sport or how these events are negatively or positively affecting boxing, they just are there to watch the fights and be entertained, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Now coming to the cons for these events, which many boxings purists have addressed, first and most importantly, many purists stated that boxing is no game. If not taken seriously, somebody could get seriously hurt. It true to some extent, but in all the events I have watched, my observation was that all those who came to perform showed great sportsmen ship and heart with good technique.
The second issue that occurred was that the practice of the pugilist fighter would be affected. Those fighters who worked their whole life to be in this position now feel their work is undermined and aren’t getting the attention they should have originally received. This is very much so wrong, but, in my opinion, to receive the attention the fighter wants, he has got to do it himself because no media will focus on you if you are sitting idle doing nothing and just relying on your promotional group.
And lastly, if these social media boxing events are done irresponsibly, it will hence reflect a bad image on the sport of boxing. This is something that cannot be ignored and should be taken care of. Till now, nothing disrespecting boxing has appeared, but if anything does occur in the future, it should be taken care of by the boxing commission.
In conclusion, I feel this is the new wave for boxing, and it will change the sport in a very positive way if done in a good manner. In these recent two years, not just boxing but combat sports have gained huge popularity amongst teenagers, which is a good diversion for their minds.