On November 9th the two social media stars KSI and Logan Paul, will turn into professional boxers as they face each other at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The two fought last year which saw their massive online followings tune in and was regarded one of the biggest internet moments of 2018. It’s no wonder that Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing, along with major platform DAZN and broadcaster Sky Sports have decided to make the fight happen again.
Having these two online personalities go at in the squared circle may be a good or bad thing for sport of boxing? In this post I’ll dissect both sides of the argument and conclude what it could mean for the future of boxing.
I guess it best to start with how this all came about in the first place, being part of the millennial generation, YouTube and social media has very much been part of my life growing up in my teens and into my 20s. Therefore, I have been familiar with these two internet personalities even before I started boxing myself.
KSI in particular was someone I would watch for his hilarious videos from his bedroom where you would see his ridiculous reactions while playing video games (particularly FIFA). However, as YouTube’s advertising very much rewarded accounts for views and bringing people to channel and KSI became a self-made millionaire from his bedroom as he grew up.
As the British YouTuber’s popularity grew he no longer wished to make the videos from his bedroom, but instead moved onto other areas such as comedy, movies and music. During this time his presence was still very much on the internet where I guess he and others would cause “Beef” with other Social Media personalities. This is what led to his first YouTube boxing event with Joe Weller which resulted in a victory for KSI – as he called out the American after his victory.
Logan Paul on the other hand is someone I was not as familiar with, I had maybe seen some clips of him online, but didn’t really know who he was. It Wasn’t until he hit headlines from all over the world for his disgraceful act of filming a dead body in a known ‘suicide forest’ in Japan which he published on his YouTube channel. This complete insensitive behavior made everyone hate him for these actions, and it is no wonder KSI called him out and possibly why people wanted the fight to happen.
This is what led to one of the biggest moments of both their careers as they went toe to toe in a sold out Manchester arena of 21,000 people along with being on a pay per view on YouTube which saw over 1.6 million live viewers and over 25 million over the next days, clearly making it become the biggest white-collar boxing fight in history. That’s not to mention all the illegal streams that were predicted to be around 6-7 million viewers. Just crazy numbers for an amateur contest!
The result didn’t end as both would have wanted as it was ruled a majority draw between the two Youtubers. The numbers above clearly did not lie and the money generated by YouTube could not be ignored – therefore it’s no wonder Eddie Hearn wanted to pick up the fight for the rematch which of course he was successful.
The rematch as you know is on and now that they have turned professional. They will be fighting with no headguards and 10oz gloves. But is this Good or bad thing for the sport of boxing? Let’s look at both sides below:
It’s Good For Boxing
Let start off with the positives, overall I probably do lean more towards this side or this argument. Why is this, well, I’m very much thinking of the bigger picture for this fight, as it will simply expose more people to boxing, it’s that simple. Especially when it will be a much younger generation that will be tuning in and could help capture more interest for the sport for many years come.
In the long run it could mean a new generation of fans wanting to watch or even get involved with the sport – this can only benefit boxing and the fighters. As more money will be put into the sport which can help it grow!
The other good part of this event is that it that there will be other top professional boxers on the undercard. This includes Super Middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders and highly rated up and coming lightweight world champ Devin Haney which will also help expose this younger generation to a very high standard of boxing.
My last point is that this overall is very entertaining – people are talking about it! Guess what… it’s not any other sport… it’s boxing! Just watch the press conferences yourself (see further below), it’s no better than the recent Mayweather vs McGregor build up and it simply helps to engage the online and younger audiences in this day of age.
It’s Bad For Boxing
Now the other side of the coin… There is a big argument that it is damaging for the sport as KSI and Logan Paul are considered as YouTubers and are not at the standard deserved to be at a professional boxing level or even headlining a professional boxing bout.
Many boxers will fight their whole career and never get to a level of exposure KSI vs Logan will have and this is what is extremely frustrating for many of those in boxing. Do they really deserve to be at this level of the sport, the pinnacle in so little fights?
The other argument is that it’s not even safe for either of them and that they shouldn’t even be allowed to be a professional due to their lack of fights and could get seriously hurt. You don’t play boxing!
I’ve also seen many say it makes a mockery of boxing and I do get it to an extent as it is simple not of a level of a professional fight and it almost acts as pantomime at times.
I understand why people would make this point, but lets not forget the great Muhammed Ali who did something similar against a Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki – it’s a lot worse in my opinion (watch here). At least these two are actually boxing regardless if they are at a high level or not.
I do believe this event will capture a new younger audience that will get involved and watch the sport for years to come.
The numbers for this will once again be insane no doubt, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a third fight between two after this. I also expect to see more events like this in the future between YouTubers or celebrities that have beef, however it may never get as big as KSI and Logan Paul.
Whatever the outcome or how it changes boxing in the long term – there will be millions tuning in regardless of whether you think it right or wrong. It’s up to you if you watch or not!
Where can I watch KSI vs Logan Paul 2?
You can watch the fight on DAZN – US/Canada and on Sky Sports in the UK on November 9th. Sign up below to watch this weekend.
Check out more my fight preview for KSI vs Logan Paul 2 here or why not check out the recent press conference below.
Thanks for reading!