Crossover Boxing: Follower or Fan?

By Boxing News - 01/18/2023 - Comments

By Kieran O’Sullivan: Boxing is a savage rite whose sole purpose is to render the opponent unconscious. Boxing is controlled cruelty. Blood, guts, sweated pain. Boxing is broken jaws, cracked teeth, busted eye sockets.

And that’s just the good stuff.

If boxing is an art form, the opponent’s face is the canvas – you paint with your fists. The body tuned, a sculpted instrument, motion as elegant law, the dancer dancing in and out of danger – this savage ballet.

And that’s just the smart stuff.

Nothing divides like boxing. You have the tribal savages howling in the stands, demanding blood and guts – the cruel crowd. You have your artisans hunkered ringside in berets, sipping on a thimble of Pernod, an artful copy of Sartre stuffed in a rustic rucksack – the thoughtful loners.

If boxing is the savage art – the primal thinker meets the thoughtless brute – then maybe, just maybe, you don’t get one without the other?

Click And Follow

Lately, the world of boxing has witnessed a new recruit to the savage art: the Follower.

The Follower is a contemporary phenomenon. He or she – or they (God help us!) – suffer from a sheepish syndrome, a type of ‘where the flock are they?’ conundrum that sees the sheeple blindly follow the shepherd of the moment.

The sheeple herd on the web’s virtual farms – they click and they follow YouTube, TikTok, Instagram et al. Celebrities mushroom in the digital dark, traffic the mulch and shit from which they grow. Generation Bored, engorged on empty feeds,

simultaneously rendered intellectually emaciated and sensually obese, click and follow for no other reason than an opposable thumb and a predilection for distraction.

Thumb up, thumb down – please share.

Fan Or Follower?

Either you’re a boxing fan or you’re a boxing follower. There is a distinction. A fan is a colloquial abbreviation of the noun ‘fanatic’. The dictionary definition for a fanatic is ‘a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal’. Conversely, a workable definition for a follower is ‘a person who moves or travels behind someone or something’.

The fan, motivated by passion and purpose. The follower, a shadow stalker, a zombie lover.

But what the flock has this got to do with boxing?

Jake Vs Jesus

If Jesus were physically among us today I have terrible feeling he’d have a big online following. Click – and share – Jesus’s motivational seven steps to heaven YouTube vid series. Interested in signing up to the Chosen One’s TikTok cross-training special? Click and share. Check out Christ’s Golgotha Christmas photoshoot?

Click click. Share share.

Yep, Jesus would crush those numbers. Followers by the Galilee boatload.

But sooner or later the devil in the guise of a boxing promoter would tempt Jesus with a lucrative crossover boxing gig. Get him a celebrity trainer. Put him on a diet. Jog, jump, skip, slip – turn the other cheek.

And keep your guard up Jesus. Save yourself.

If by some miracle Jesus survived the gym’s Via Dolorosa, it follows that his followers would inevitably demand a showdown with Jake Paul – you know it makes sense.

The Great Divide

Like Christ, Jake Paul has followers. Millions of them. They followed his silly, harmless pre-boxing YouTube videos. And when he came out as a public tough, they followed him to arenas where he knocked over a series of tomato cans.

Boxing fans fumed. Lovers of the savage art railed on forums. Questions were raised in that working man’s parliament, the pub, the bar:

You call it boxing, mate?

Follow The Followers To The Money

Fame is Kim Kardashian’s arse squared by Jake Paul’s haircut, divided by promoters, equaling money.

Nothing debases like money. Prmoters don’t give a flock, they just turn a buck.

Those of you with functioning memories – no small thing in our digitally attritional times – may well recall the initial reaction of a few promoters to celebrity boxing. They hated it. They were full of righteous scorn. They spoke as fans of the savage art.

But for thirty pieces of silver…

Last rule: never, ever invite Judas for supper.

Calling It

I’m going to call it. Crossover boxing is shit. It’s a defamation of a great art. It’s like giving a crayon to a kid and expecting Guernica.

Celebrity boxing has only one real lasting value: celebrities get to beat each other up thus saving publicly spirited individuals the effort.

In Defence Of The Savage Art

Boxing is one of the last bastions of the individual. Think about it. Look at your own life. When was the last time you were truly alone, facing the world on your own terms, edged up close to life or death, no turning back? That’s boxing. The roped square. The pure, unadulterated thrill of relying on no one but yourself.

And no matter how often the money men cheapen it, barcode and sell it, they’ll never despoil the soul, the essence of boxing.

So, in a world divided between followers and fans, you get to decide.

Follower? Click.

Fan? Share.