As the dust settles on the latest event to ‘break the internet’, many boxing purists have sneered at the boxing quality which was displayed by KSI and Logan Paul in Los Angeles. Truth be told, despite the fighters’ galactic sized egos, they weren’t the second coming of Mayweather or Ali. Promoter Eddie Hearn’s aim was to sell boxing (and his service DAZN) to a wider audience. Did he achieve that? Possibly. This fight was not aimed at the boxing fanbase, it was millennial YouTube addicts. As a proud member of said group, I loved all the previous fights and I have no regrets from getting up at 4am to watch this fight. I’ll probably watch more bouts in the future. So, in essence, Hearn succeeded in his aims.
I, like many, was surprised at KSI’s victory. Logan looked dangerous in the first fight and I presumed he would pick JJ apart in this fight. However, KSI showed some British bulldog spirit and fought back from Paul’s illegal punch, which arguably was the differential. It was not a high-quality affair, but it was never going to be.
One must instead look at this fight from an entertainment point of view. The press conferences, the trash talk, the online back and forth from both camps – and of course, Shannon Briggs. All of this provided, to me at least, far more entertainment than two standard boxers ever would. Unless it is a real titan of the sport, like Fury or Joshua, many would not be interested. Personality is needed to sell PPV’s, as demonstrated in UFC. Sport is made up of talking points and having personalities like KSI and Logan provides just that. Both YouTubers laid their careers on the line and to someone invested in that world, it truly felt like high stakes.
If you are not part of the social media world and didn’t enjoy this fight, that’s perfectly reasonable. Professional and high-class boxing will continue to exist as long as the demand is still there, which it very much is. I also see why it may be seen as an insult to the sport but be assured it was not intended to be. KSI and Logan took this fight very seriously and there’s no doubting how much effort went in to prepare it.
I for one would love to see more YouTube fights in the future. KSI v Jake Paul? Jake Paul vs Gib on the Joshua undercard? Perhaps my favourite suggestion is KSI v McGregor. All of which would gain boxing even more followers, to its own benefit.
Let’s go champ.