Down But Not Out


Graph by Andrew Hale

The approximate viewership, including pay-per-view sales, have shown to have been over 1 million during some of the biggest “YouTube” boxing events since 2018.

A lot has changed since the likes of Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Joe Louis roamed the world as Earth’s best and most feared boxers. 

After boxing’s peak in the 60’s and the 70’s, we’ve seen fighters such as Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez and Tyson Fury come around in the 2000’s but none have been nearly as influential as the generation of boxers that came before them. 

Just when boxing seemed as if it was at its lowest point, in terms of popularity, a worldwide phenomenon occurred which sparked and rejuvenated the sport that once was at the top of the world. 

It wasn’t Mike Tyson coming out of retirement or Floyd Mayweather finally losing, instead, in 2018 a fight between two British “YouTubers” is what got the world, once again, excited about boxing.

This was quite a genius idea the more you think about it. What better way to re-popularize a sport than combining the forces of two fan bases, consisting of 20 million young fans, and having their favorite creators battle it out to see who the “King” of YouTube is? 

While some of the older fans may see this as two unskilled “influencers” disrespecting the art of boxing, this is actually the very reason why boxing has been at its height in popularity for the first time in many years. 

Slowly this wave of boxing popularity started to spread. YouTube influencers by the likes of KSI, AnEsonGib along with Jake and Logan Paul started to take boxing more seriously. 

This popularity led to a fight between KSI and Logan Paul in a sold out Staples Center in L.A., to Jake Paul fighting former professional athletes on Pay-Per-Views networks such as Showtime.  

After winning his first three professional fights, Jake Paul started to make boxing fans question whether or not these “YouTubers” are for real. 

No moment has impacted modern boxing more than on June 6, 2021 when Floyd Mayweather and popular “YouTuber” Logan Paul battled for eight rounds in an exhibition fight at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Going into this fight, Paul only fought professionally twice, drawing in the first and losing in his second, whereas Floyd Mayweather entered this fight with a 50-0 record. Since this was deemed an exhibition, Mayweather did not have to worry about messing up his flawless record.

Surprisingly, the craziest part wasn’t that an entertainer was fighting one of the greatest fighters of all time, instead it was the fact that this very entertainer lasted eight rounds without being knocked out or technically “losing.”

For Mayweather this was just an easy pay day, but for Paul this was much more. This was Paul’s moment to represent his fellow “YouTubers” and “influencers” and to show the boxing and sports community that this new generation of boxers is here to stay.

So how has this “influencer takeover” affected the credibility and validity of boxing?

In short, it hasn’t. Because of these very influencers, followed by millions and millions of fans, boxing is at its peak popularity for the first time in many years. 

This hasn’t only garnered the attention of “YouTubers” and “TikTokers” but other professional athletes have contemplated the idea of getting their next big pay day.

Former NFL players like Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Frank Gore along with past NBA players like Nate Robinson and Deron Williams have already stepped into the sport of boxing. 

Another prime example has to be when former two-time dunk contest champion, Nate Robinson, decided to step into the ring with Jake Paul. This may sound like an intriguing fight, but the only problem is that basketball is not boxing.

Less than three rounds into the fight, Robinson was laid out face first on the canvas. Former MMA fighters Ben Askren and past UFC Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley learned their lesson and were also quickly defeated by Paul.

Paul’s hardest challenge will come on Dec. 18 when he fights Tommy Fury – brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.