On the state of YouTube boxing

By Jesse Dolojan, Staff Writer

When you think of the sport of boxing, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the image of two people slugging each other violently with comically huge gloves in a ring? Or is it two warriors who have dedicated their lives to an art which revolves around constant discipline up until the day where their skills are pitted against one another?  

Either way, boxing is a sport with a long and tenured history that has fallen to the wayside in the combat sports world. One can argue that it has lost a sense of credibility with many of its top fighters refusing to fight each other. 

For example, two of the best fighters in the world, Errol Spence Jr. and Terrence Crawford are very close in weight and are both on the pound for pound list. For context, the pound for pound list shows who the best fighters in the world are at the time of writing. 

Instead of fighting each other to see who is the better, they avoid each other and pick out fighters who are not as skilled and utterly destroy them to retain their places on the pound for pound list.  

These faces of the sport who refuse to fight each other are making many fight fans turn their attention to different sports.  

For example, the MMA juggernaut known as the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Champsionship) has an event almost every week with ranked fighters going against each other. Although not the most morally sound person, UFC president Dana White is a genius in terms of marketing fighters and creating matchups that excite hardcore and causal fans of the sport alike.  

In contrast, many boxers have managers who will bargain with various organizations only to have these talks fall through. This cycle often continues until each fight is far less intriguing than the previous target date for various reasons such as injury or old age.  

Ironically enough, what has brought back attention to boxing hasn’t been the best of the sport, but entirely new faces who picked up the sport recently. YouTubers such as Jake Paul and KSI have picked up the gloves for a chance to attain stardom in a new medium. 

The fact that YouTubers are the ones bringing attention to boxing angers many fans, mainly because of the fact that many YouTubers have went “pro” only to fight each other. In their view, YouTube boxers have no interest in the actual sport and are only trying it out to amuse fans and reap the financial benefits of fighting.  

And to a certain extent, I am inclined to agree with this statement. Many YouTubers more than likely picked up boxing simply to entertain their social media audiences with another entertainment venture.  

What many YouTubers call “pro” boxing more often than not is inferior to even the worst professionals in the sport. Just a few weeks ago, Tommy Fury managed to beat Jake Paul with mostly a sound jab and solid footwork. Tommy Fury, while related to Tyson Fury, has beaten professional boxers with a combined record of 24-176-5 before fighting Jake Paul.  

Now, Jake Paul’s professional record is 6-1. And while this may sound impressive, his victories have come against another new YouTuber, a retired NBA player, and multiple old and retired MMA fighters.  

This means that Jake’s first real boxer he fought was a man who only won against opponents with a combined record of 24-176-5, a fight he lost. Not a good look for one of the biggest faces in boxing today. 

Even though the above is true, I still believe that this attention to the sport is good. YouTubers deciding to venture into the sport of boxing have absolutely influenced many of their viewers to have more of an interest in the sport or even try it out themselves.  

With this interest in boxing, many of those who try out the sport will reap the benefits of trying it. This can help many people get into shape when they may be struggling to find a fun way to workout. Boxing, and many martial arts in general, will surround you with a community that often pushes you past what you previously thought were your limits. 

Not only that, in my experience many of these communities are filled with kind people who only want you to reach your goals and grow from your experience in their art. Many coaches are people who dedicated their lives to their art not just to train people as athletes, but to help them grow as individuals with their progression through martial arts. 

After all, there has to be a reason people stick with a sport where they face the risk of permanent brain damage. It cannot just be the pride and glory of battle alone that keeps so many there, even if that is a factor that attracts many.  

And I’m sure that many YouTubers who ventured into boxing have noticed this. Especially those who have stuck with it. Even when they lose, some have come back to fight again. And even those who do not compete may still train because they have discovered they genuinely love boxing and do not want to leave it behind.