YouTube star Logan Paul vs all-time great Floyd Mayweather: Yep, you read that right

I was hoping that I’d be done talking about this kind of thing. I made the post many moons ago before the pandemic and masks were a thing and the words “social distancing” didn’t exist (god those were the days) about the big YouTube fellas, KSI and Logan Paul, fighting each other at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles and assumed that it would be the end of it all. They’d get their bit of time in the spotlight on Sky Sports Box Office, along with a handsome pay day and YouTube boxing would ride off peacefully into the sunset with somewhat of a reputation in tact. In reality, couldn’t be further from the truth. What came next was Logan’s younger and somehow more obnoxious brother, Jake, deciding he wanted a go.* Jake then took on some of the most prestigious names in the sport in the form of fellow YouTuber AnesonGib, ex-NBA basketball star Nate Robinson, and retired MMA fighter Ben Askren. Huge names on the record which should surely set up a mega-fight with somebody like a bouncer from any Wetherspoons in South Wales, or Coronation Street’s Roy Cropper, but instead opting for another retired MMA fighter in the form of Tyron Woodley. All the while, Logan went a bit quiet after his sole loss before setting up an exhibition match with (and I wish I was joking) undefeated former five weight world champion Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather. Eight three-minute rounds with no official winner, there will be no judges scoring, it won’t go to a decision, knockouts and stoppages are allowed and the referee can stop the fight at any time. It’s essentially a sparring session without headguards, fun.

*Kinda harsh from me here, Logan actually isn’t that bad a bloke. He’s been on a bit of a road to redemption in the last few years and comes across like a nice guy. He used his social media platforms well during the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020 and has challenged toxic masculinity on his podcast before. Seems like the type of guy you’d like to have a beer with.

The fight was originally supposed to happen in early 2021 but has since been rearranged for the 6th of June at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The fight will be shown live on Sky Sports Box Office with an undercard that’s interesting to say the least. Sweden’s Badou Jack was supposed to rematch Jean Pascal for the WBA light-heavyweight title however that fight is off due to Pascal failing a drug test. Instead, Jack faces undefeated Venezuelan star Dervin Colina instead. The card also sees former unified light-middleweight champion Jarret Hurd take on Luis Arias, and former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver and NFL legend Chad Johnson making his debut in an exhibition bout. There’s some big names and tasty fights on the undercard but it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, the KSI-Logan undercard featured the likes of Devin Haney and Billy Joe Saunders.

People can laugh and joke (and have, quite a lot) but this seriously needs to be talked about. Despite what I’ve written I’m not necessarily against the YouTube boxing scene. Sure it’s a bit gimmicky and sometimes a bit cringey but it’s a bit of fun for some internet peeps who have wanted to do this kind of thing and it brings more eyes to the sport. When it goes this far is when serious red flags are raised and alarm bells start to ring for me. This isn’t somebody with a few years training fighting another internet star, athlete from another sport or even a journeyman (which I still wouldn’t be 100% comfortable with), this is going against a pound for pound king and one of the greatest fighters of this generation.  Even though Floyd didn’t have a reputation as the biggest knockout artist by the end of his career, this could end in a really nasty way. Look at the McGregor fight and how beat up Conor got, or even the exhibition Floyd had with Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa. Both were unbelievably one sided even though they had backgrounds in combat sport.

I’m not a fan of this at all, and I’m pretty worried Logan could end up badly hurt. As grim as it sounds, and I’m praying he doesn’t, it’s a very real possibility. If the whole YouTube fighting thing carries on, put them against each other or other celebrities. It’s all well and good seeing Logan fight Mayweather or Jake Paul call out Tommy Fury and Conor McGregor but it’s only a matter of time before somebody gets seriously injured and all of a sudden boxing is the bad guy again for letting it happen. Jake saying how he’s an elite level fighter after fighting three nobodies in the world of boxing is not only wrong but again, downright dangerous. It’s led to him to be called out by the IBF and Ring Cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis, which I doubt he would turn down because he believes his own hype so much (good luck finding a governing body on the planet that would be happy to sanction that fight) and he’d end up badly hurt, same way he would if he ended up fighting McGregor or Tommy Fury. The furthest I’d be begrudgingly happy to see it go would be a fight with somebody like Sonny Bill Williams or Paul Gallen, former sportsmen who have some background in boxing. But even still I’d probably have to watch from behind the sofa for a Sonny Bill Williams – Jake Paul fight.

My main hope for all this is that it’s the beginning of the end. YouTube stars boxing can do what they want so long as it doesn’t get stupider than this. Calling out ex and current professionals is not a path I want to see this go down and in the long run it’s just going to end in tears. Hopefully the Logan Paul-Floyd Mayweather fight is decent enough for the fans in attendance sake (and the nutcases over the world who stay up for it), ends fairly quickly and nobody gets seriously hurt. Then for the love of god and all that’s holy can this nonsense about fighting actual boxers or MMA fighters who can actually punch PLEASE stop before one of them (I’m looking at you Jake Paul) takes an unwinnable fight against a professional at the top of their game because that will not be pretty. Do I like the idea of Jake Paul fighting nobodies and parading himself around like he’s the best thing since sliced bread? No, it’s annoying. But I like the idea of him fighting somebody like Conor McGregor, Tommy Fury, Mairis Briedis, or Kamaru Usman a hell of a lot less.

My personal prediction for the fight is Floyd starts off jabbing and testing the water like he did against McGregor, Logan goes in swinging like a mad man in the hope of landing something before Floyd sees red and throws a mental combo which comes out of nowhere and the fight gets stopped. All within the first two minutes as well, I really don’t see this going more than one round. But hey, what do I know.

KSI vs Logan Paul 2: The Internet Stars Going Pro

So this is bound to divide opinion. It was announced on Tuesday the 3rd of September that the boxing rematch between YouTube stars KSI (real name Olajide Olatunji) and Logan Paul will take place on the 9th of November in the Staples Centre, Los Angeles, following their first bout which took place in Manchester last August ending in a majority draw. What has arguably grabbed headlines the most however is the fact that both men are turning professional and the fight is being promoted by Matchroom Boxing and is to be broadcast live on streaming service DAZN. This time there will be no headguards and is taking place as a professional boxing match with strong rumours of big name professional stars fighting on the undercard. To say the response to this ambitious move has been varied would be an understatement with some fans calling the event an absolute shambles and others saying how it will actually do more good for the sport of boxing than people might think. Both arguments are fair and people rightfully feel excited or frustrated about the event, therefore I’m going to take a look at what are the positives and negatives of the internet’s biggest rivalry turning professional.

First of all, a look at the positive sides of the argument. When the pair met in late August 2018 the fight was broadcast on a YouTube pay per view system with a set price of $10 (or around £8). On fight night over 1 million people bought the fight and around 1.2 million people watched the event on illegal streams on streaming website Twitch making it the most watched non-professional boxing match of all time. To put the PPV buys into perspective, Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder made around 400,000 buys, Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr was somewhere between the 400,000–500,000 buy mark and the second fight between Carl Froch and George Groves generated around 350,000 purchases . From a business point of view, it makes perfect sense to make the fight a professional bout as it’s bound to bring in a large viewing audience. The interest is obviously there and I imagine it will do huge viewing figures on fight night. Also, look at it for what it actually is. It’s two fighters making their professional boxing debuts. They’re both licensed pro fighters and this will be their first professional bout and what an audience to make your debut. The last bout had a bit of a professional feel to it in the build up with a “Gloves Are Off” special interview hosted by Johnny Nelson, two “press conferences” in Los Angeles and London (they weren’t much of press conferences though, more shouting matches) and a weigh-in the day before fight night. The only thing missing was the fact it wasn’t a professional bout however this time it is. Most importantly, this could bring a whole new audience to the sport of boxing. With the rumours of a strong undercard featuring the exciting Devin Haney and Billy Joe Saunders defending his WBO Super–Middleweight title (nothing should surprise me in boxing anymore but, what?!?!?!) this could see a new wave of fans drawn to the sport and even inspire some to take up boxing. Hopefully, this event will bring many new eyes to the sport.

However, there are many good reasons to argue why this shouldn’t be a professional bout. The main argument is purely, why? Yes it’s going to make a lot of money but business aside, why do it? I’m 1 million percent sure that no other YouTubers will be fighting on the card or commentating on the live broadcast which was part of the draw for their target audience last time. By putting KSI and Logan as the headliner but having huge names like Billy Joe Saunders and Devin Haney on the undercard (I still can’t get my head around Billy Joe possibly on an undercard for any fight, let alone this one) there is no way any celebrities or YouTube stars are getting anywhere near the card. Furthermore, it could make for a bit of a strange atmosphere come fight night. You’ll get people in attendance there only for KSI and Logan whilst not caring in the slightest about the undercard and others who will be there for Billy Joe or Haney and couldn’t care less about the main event. Both of which is damaging to the professionals on the undercard and the main event. The system they used for their previous bout (and the KSI–Joe Weller fight before that) by having other YouTubers on the card in non-professional fights and YouTube stars True Geordie and Laurence McKenna on commentary worked perfectly fine for their target audience. This time however I think it’s a bit ambitious to make it a professional bout if other YouTube stars involved in previous events was part of the attraction and that’s being taken away. If the rumours are true (and it looks like they are) that Billy Joe Saunders and Devin Haney are on the undercard then, in my opinion, that’s just a strange move. Saunders is a world champion and could easily headline a PPV on his own and Haney is probably 1 or 2 fights away from Vasyl Lomachenko, are these really the fighters you need on the undercard? I get that having them on the undercard would make the event seem even bigger than it already is, however if over 1 million people bought it last time is there need to make these fights on the undercard when there’s already a huge following for the bout? If professional fights are being put on the undercard, then why not use this opportunity to promote some young fighters to a big audience? The fight has not been received too well by some hardcore boxing fans with it being described as disrespectful, a farce and a mockery of the sport. The main frustration is that there are countless pros who have worked tirelessly for years and would give an arm and a leg to get where KSI and Logan are in terms of headlining at an arena like the Staples Centre yet they’re doing it in their professional debuts. Whilst a valid point, they’ve established a huge following and regardless of where the fight was held it was always going to sell out. Some fear that this could be the catalyst for a trend of celebrities and reality stars turning professional without too much background in the sport just for the money. Again, whilst a valid point, professional governing bodies would need to approve for them to turn professional and personally I don’t see it happening if too many applied to turn pro after little/no previous fights.

It was always going to bring controversy. Who knows what’ll happen come fight night, there’s no doubt it will be a success business wise but the response and aftermath will be mixed to say the least. However one thing is for certain, it will completely rock the landscape of boxing and will change the sport on a huge scale for better or worse.