The world of boxing used to be a respectable place, as the world’s biggest stars collided in the middle of the ring to settle grudge fights, with millions of dollars being bet on the potential outcome. Millions of fans from around the world would tune in to see the drama that would unfold, and it would create talking points for weeks on end depending on the outcome.
However, for the pure boxing fans, the sport has been undermined over the past 12 months with the growing number of celebrity bouts and social media influencers turning to the sport to get their slice of the pie.
So, is it good for the sport to have extra eyes on it, or is it damaging the product as a whole?
Paul Brothers Headline Celebrity Cards
The biggest changes that have been apparent in the world of boxing this year have been the growing number of celebrity boxing bouts. Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield have both made returns to the ring, as they have sold their soul for one extra night in the limelight with mixed results.
Meanwhile, it has been the growing prominent of Jake Paul and Logan Paul that have really rubbed boxing fans up the wrong way. Can you imagine if in football, for example, you would see among pro NFL teams, including some of the best quarterbacks of all time, a random team made of Youtubers? Would be insane!
Jake Paul, along with his brother, have been foul-mouthed towards some of the most legendary stars the sport has ever producing, believing that they are the best thing that has ever happened to the sport. Jake has headlined a number of shows against former UFC stars Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley, and will be stepping in the ring once again with the latter before the turn of the New Year.
Paul’s fights have been commercially successful in the United States, as millions of adoring social media followers have tuned in to watch the action. However, for the diehard fans of the sport, they refuse to be drawn in to this circus of a show. No longer are they seeing the biggest and best stars in the world, instead, they are watching glorified amateurs try their hand at one of the hardest sports to master.
Legitimacy Of Sport Now In Question
Some ex-boxers see the emergence as the Paul brothers as a positive, as more eyes on the sport will make all boxers winners, and higher attendances will in turn mean higher prize purses. That was echoed by the president of Showtime Sports Stephen Espinoza, who admitted that the move to support Jake Paul was down to converting his fans into boxing fans.
However, that stance hasn’t been supported by everyone across the board. Many believe that the introduction of a novice such as Paul, who has no previous experience in the ring prior to his debut, only takes away legitimacy of the sport. Paul is yet to actually step into a ring with a professional boxer of any description, with his biggest test coming against former UFC champion, Woodley. Many have also claimed that the stance taken by Showtime is very short sighted, and will have a negative effect on the sport as a whole in the future.
There are very few fans that argue against the decision from a business standpoint. Evidence of that can be seen from the Logan Paul vs KSI bout, which saw both fighters walk away with purses of $900,000. Compared to a title fight pitting Billy Joe Saunders and Devin Haney against one another, there was very small difference in the purses, with both world champions getting $1 million for their showing. Money talks in boxing, and ultimately, that means the Paul circus will continue on into 2022.