Whether You Like It Or Not, Boxing Is Changing
By: Evan Fraser
Professional sports are performed on national and world stages on a daily basis by some of the best athletes in the world. Whether it is a team sport such as basketball, or an individual sport like tennis, professional athletes are paid millions of dollars to compete for the likes of fans. However, it is only recently that we have seen the emergence of those competing in individual professional sports that do not actually make a living as a professional athlete.
It was not long ago that we saw famous YouTuber Jake Paul engage in boxing exhibitions against former three time NBA Slam Dunk Champion Nate Robinson and former UFC fighter Ben Askerin. Just this past weekend, another fight featured Jake’s brother Logan versus Floyd Mayweather, one of the greatest boxers the sport has ever seen. After watching these bouts, a question must be raised regarding the true reason for the exhibition. In summation, it seems to be money and publicity that drives those fighting to compete as of late without possessing a true passion for the sport.
Just this past Sunday, Logan Paul versus Floyd Mayweather drew more than 1 million purchases on pay-per-view. This turn out is huge for the boxers involved as prior to the fight, it was determined that Paul would receive 10% of pay-per-view earnings while Mayweather would take home a whopping 50%. With Mayweather making a base salary of $10 million and Paul making a guaranteed $250,000 just to step in the ring, it was certainly a big pay day for each competitor. One may wonder why Mayweather was able to make significantly more than Paul, yet the irony in this fact is that more cash is promised to the perennial fighter to help bolster the publicity of the famous YouTuber.
Floyd Mayweather has already made a name for himself in the world of boxing with a professional record of 50-0. Bleacher Report writes about how Mayweather may go down as the greatest pound-for-pound boxer of all-time. The moral of the story however is that having the opportunity to fight a champion like Mayweather is not possible for an average Joe. However, when one has established previous fame in another industry like Logan Paul has through his production of content via YouTube, money can certainly talk, making publicity stunts such as this fight become a reality. It takes a lot of money to get the king of the sport to agree to fight someone with minimal experience that believes they can take the best down. With the 10 million dollar base salary, 50% of pay-per-view earnings and massive sponsorship deals, simple calculations can determine that Mayweather was able to secure huge earnings based on 24 total minutes in the ring. Yes, Paul was also able to secure massive earnings as well, but more importantly for him, he gained the publicity he originally sought and may have booked his ticket to another lucrative bout in the future by standing his ground against Mayweather.
To the individuals that are driven by the reality of big paychecks, exhibitions of this caliber are nothing but a success. Die-hard boxing fans on the other hand believe that the publicity stunts created by these fighters is only tarnishing the sport for the future as there is almost only a drive for money and a lack of passion for boxing. Regardless of this thought, many of those that hold close ties to the sport are actually in favour of the way boxing has shifted gears. Tomislav Zivanovic discusses in an article that although many disagree with YouTuber’s entering the sport seeking fame and money, it is actually helping the resurgence of the sport. He acknowledges that no matter their skill set, they bring new audiences into the sport and encourage those to tune in to pay-per-view events on a more regular basis. Well-known boxer Mike Tyson has actually enjoyed the publicity surrounding fights that involve YouTubers like Logan Paul as he seems to think they truly have saved the sport that was being outperformed in pay-per-view numbers by the UFC.
Overall, we have seen a change in individual sports such as boxing whether you believe it is for better or worse. Regardless of one’s opinion however, it cannot be denied that YouTubers really have brought popularity back into the sport of boxing. This Saturday, we will see the Battle of the Platforms with the headline fight between famous YouTuber Austin McBroom and TikToker Bryce Hall. We can see that the sport of boxing is finding ways to allow famous people from all walks of life battle it out on the biggest of stages.