The boxing world is torn on the sport’s latest YouTube celebrity trend with Jake Paul, his brother Logan, and more taking the ring. But Mike Tyson can see how these “ridiculous” events can be good for boxing.
Jake Paul, in particular, has been leading the charge with his antics and publicly trash-talking some of the bigger names in action sports like UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Mr. 50-0 himself, Floyd Mayweather.
Some believe this is casting a shadow on the sport. LA Times sports columnist Dylan Hernández noted how “the clown shows that make a mockery of the once-proud sport” have been taking the way from the actual headline events like Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders, for example.
Hernández was specifically talking about Jake’s hat-grabbing fiasco with Mayweather at his older brother’s press event in Florida. While that’s one of the most prominent outbursts of the YouTube boxing era, it left a bad taste with critics around the sport.
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But Iron Mike sees it another way. While he still thinks Jake is “ridiculous,” the amount of attention he’s drawing to the sport can be massive for the future of boxing.
“That’s why that stuff is good,” he said on the Hotboxin’ with Mike show. “Because the real [boxers] don’t want to fight each other. Jake Paul fought on my show because he got 75 million viewers.
“He’s good for boxing. Is he kinda ridiculous? Yeah. But is he good for boxing? F**k yeah. Boxing needs shit like that.”
At first, the Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul bout was getting traction for the names that would be in the ring. But Thursday’s press event made the June 6 exhibition match a lot more personal for the wrong reasons.
In a broader sense, YouTube boxing has reignited the showmanship and fiery dialogue of the brutal sport – which is attracting new audiences. But for purists, it’s just not real boxing.
Still, if event managers can convert the newfound popularity that Jake Paul and the rest of what YouTubers have to offer into long-lasting appeal, then boxing could be headed into a new golden age of viewership.