YouTuber Jake Paul gesticulates in front of a garage door

The beat-up: pro-fighters v the influencers

By Louie Frost

It is all for publicity, but boxing is now getting popular for all the wrong reasons. It used to be that YouTubers wanted a music career, then they started doing podcasts and now it’s boxing. The state of boxing is very sad to see. What does it say about the sport of boxing when people would tune in to see YouTubers box, rather than the top competitors in the world? 

Arguably the most hated internet star at the moment is Jake Paul, who has a 3-0 boxing record after knocking out retired mixed martial artist Ben Askren in 1 minute and 59 seconds of the first round at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on April 17. Many people were quick to accuse the fight of being staged. 

Jake, along with brother Logan Paul, seem to have a bounty on their heads as current and former UFC and boxing stars are wanting to put an end to the boxing careers of the two most disliked people on the internet. 

One former professional fighter who looks to have a major problem with this issue, is recently retired UFC star Daniel Cormier, who confronted Jake Paul at UFC 261 on April 24, 2021 while the crowd of 15,000 chanted ‘’F*** Jake Paul!’’ with Paul responding with the middle finger. 

Paul had the audacity to challenge the former UFC champion and called him ‘fat boy’ after he defeated Askren. Cormier has said he wouldn’t fight Paul because he wouldn’t lower himself to it, but he maintains he would ‘kill him’. 

UFC President Dana White reacted to Paul’s presence at his post-fight press conference and couldn’t resist a swipe at his fighting credentials.

“This kid’s done a good job of putting himself in a place to make some money. Good for him, he’s got you guys talking about him all the time, asking questions about him, got Daniel Cormier running after him, so he’s doing something right’’, White said at his press conference. 

On August 25, 2018, Jake and his brother Logan Paul fought fellow Youtube stars KSI and his younger brother, Deji Olatunji, in a pair of amateur white-collar boxing matches. Jake Paul’s fight against Deji was the chief undercard bout before the main event, KSI vs. Logan Paul. The KSI vs Logan Paul fight was promoted as “the biggest internet event in history’’, yet resulted in a draw.

They are not the only internet personalities to dip their fingers in the fight industry as Youtubers such as AnEsonGib, JMX, RossiHD, Scarce, Jay Swingler and RackaRacka all had fights on the Logan Paul vs KSI 1 undercard while the undercard of Logan Paul vs KSI 2 consisted of professional boxers. 

‘’Maybe they can take a punch, but one rocket from Mike Tyson would send them to Disneyland whether their jaw is made of granite or not,’’ lifelong combat sports fan Stevyn Macris passionately claims. ‘’Maybe these guys were reasonable in their field but you cannot call any of the fighters they’ve faced a real threat.’’ 

Many believe that Floyd Mayweather is doing the rest of the world a favour by fighting Logan Paul at Hard Rock Stadium on June 6. Fans are confident that Mayweather will make the Paul brothers never want to step foot in a ring ever again. A month before returning to the ring at age 44 for an exhibition bout, Floyd Mayweather wound up in an altercation at the news conference for the fight.

On May 6, he squared off with Paul’s brother, Jake, who prompted the scuffle when he took Mayweather’s cap. Apparently incensed that Mayweather called both Pauls “fake fighters” and offered to take on both on the same night, Jake confronted the former champion by grabbing Mayweather’s baseball cap and security jumped between the two as Mayweather surged toward him. Mayweather will surely turn his 50-0 record into 51-0 and fingers crossed Jake Paul and KSI will be the 52-0 and 53-0. 

Macris went on to fire more shots, ‘’a properly conditioned heavyweight fighter, whether amateur or pro, wouldn’t raise a sweat against these fame-hungry parasites. They are making a mockery of the industry I love. A complete spit to the face.’’

Athletes of other codes are guilty of having a go at boxing. There are some ex Rugby players that are more suited to the transition. Paul Gallen is one obvious example but as the League game becomes more about speed, skill and agility, the number of NRL players taking up combat sports in the future is likely to reduce. 

Even former league star Paul Gallen is likely to move away from boxing as his celebrity status starts to decline. The retired NRL big-man has focused his attention on the boxing ring since retiring from Rugby League in 2019. Gallen holds an 11-1-0 record after defeating former kickboxer Lucas Browne in April 2021. 

‘’I think most NRL players have the necessary strength, fitness, mobility, toughness and coordination to learn the necessary techniques of combat sports, but I don’t think there are any obvious candidates that us viewers could identify as being future success stories,” former professional boxer Danny Green weighed in.

The heavy impact of the collisions in rugby league inflict more wear and tear on the body, particularly to the back, neck, knees, shoulders and brain than the strikes and grapples in Mixed Martial Arts. Compare an MMA takedown to a rugby league tackle. The fighters aren’t charging at each other at full tilt, and they can use their arms to cushion the impact against the ground.

No one can doubt Gallen’s career as a footballer but his career as a boxer is questionable. Other than Anthony Mundine, no one has reached the dizzy heights. A lot of fights these days are mismatches and when Gallen starts to fight more suitable candidates with better credibility he will be taken seriously.

Green, who knows Mundine very well, commented “the players need to have a desire for combat sports and I don’t think that desire is obvious just by watching them get involved with on-field biffs when playing Rugby League.’’ 

‘’I remember Paul Harragon belting Martin Bella in the State of Origin,’’ Green reminisces. ‘’But was that sufficient to identify him as a future star of boxing? I’d say his technique was pretty ordinary that night and his desire to take up boxing was even less.’’

Gallen has made a terrific long term career out of the NRL and is still making a good buck now via the occasional fight and self promotion of his “bad boy” persona. In that regard, based on his toughness and commitment to succeed, he is a champion. He will not be a Rugby League immortal or a boxing icon, but he has done well for himself and his family.

Overall, the futures of boxing and combat sports are safe in the hands of proper professionals. Some choose not to accept the change in today’s industry, while others are more welcoming and are intrigued by how it affects the fighting world as we know it.

Featured image: Facebook/JakePaul

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