With a fight between boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and YouTube star Logan Paul looming, some fans are wondering if the growing number of celebrity show fights is reducing the sport to a carnival-style side show.
Sunday’s fight in Miami is expected to be a one-sided battle in favor of Mayweather (50-0) despite Paul (0-1) weighing around 50 pounds (23 kg) heavier, 6 inches (15 cm) heavier and 18 years old less. as Mayweather, 44, a new grandfather. Read more
But while purists and pros like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez say the trend is simply a dangerous grab of money, some of the sport’s most influential names argue that the rising tide of interest is lifting all boats.
“I am a boxing historian,” former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson told Reuters.
“Boxing comes from the gutter,” he said, referring to his long history of controversy, including his own infamous 1997 fight against Evander Holyfield, where he was disqualified for biting his opponent’s ear. .
“So with the YouTubers, anything anyone does with gloves on pays homage to boxing,” Tyson said. “Boxing cannot go lower than where it started.”
He said anyone who takes the risk of stepping into the ring deserves respect. Still, Tyson doesn’t give Paul much of a chance against Mayweather, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time.
“Floyd is going to kill this guy, man,” Tyson said with a laugh.
“Floyd stays in the gym, he’s never in good shape. He’s going to have so much fun making this money.”
Mayweather, who is nicknamed “Money,” has said he expects to earn more than $ 50 million from the fight, which will not count towards his unblemished professional record. He called the fight a “legalized bank robbery”.
Heavyweight Otto Wallin, who has fought the sport’s biggest names including Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, said boxers who move up the ranks can learn from what Logan and his YouTuber-turned-boxer brother, Jake Paul (3- 0), have accomplished.
“People want to see these guys for a reason and they are very well followed,” he told Reuters.
“From a boxing perspective, they’re not as good as real boxers, but there are people who will pay to see them fight, so I can’t really hit that.”
Wallin said professional boxers, managers and promoters should try to emulate the success of the Paul brothers, who have over 40 million subscribers combined to their respective channels.
“We can really fight, but maybe we need to promote ourselves better,” he said.
To that end, Wallin said he hired a public relations firm to help him build his profile.
“I’m working on it. It’s not easy, but it’s moving in the right direction,” he said.
Tyson recently fought compatriot Roy Jones Jr. for a draw under his “Legends Only” show brand in an event that even skeptics had to admit produced an entertaining fight.
ESPN boxing commentator Max Kellerman said the success of this fight means the trend for retired boxers to tie their gloves is likely to continue.
“I have a feeling most of the people who paid to watch Roy Jones and Mike Tyson fight their exposure came away happy and would pay for a rematch or one that attracted them,” Kellerman said on his show.
“I know I would. So I don’t know if this is so much of a bubble as a new kind of business model that could be with us for the foreseeable future.”
Tyson said those who cling to outdated notions of what boxing is should realize that nothing is static.
“The world is changing. Everything will not turn out the way it used to be,” Tyson said.
“The pandemic has given us the opportunity to show the world that. Whatever time was before, it’s over. It’s a new world and they can’t even understand it,” he said. he declares.
“Isn’t that fun? It’s a new world.
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