KSI Logan Paul 2 if you’re a YouTube fan or KSI vs Logan Paul 2 if you’re a boxing fan…
This was the biggest internet event in history. On Saturday November 9th, 2.2 million live viewers watched the professional debut fight between these two youtube celebrities. The outcome of the fight was instantly on the information superhighway. 11,000 people were able to pirate the event. With major controversy and drama, it was a fun show with a crowd that was on fire.
They may be called Gen Y, but maybe they should be called Gen DIY. The millennial generation superstars Logan Paul and KSI seem to have foregone the formal education, training, interning and plagiarizing of the greats. They seemingly picked up a computer, an IPhone or even worse an android, and sold their backyard videos to backyard audiences globally. Armed with millions of followers and subscribers, these YouTubers can bring in the likes, views, and now ticket sales. Masses of people of all ages have never heard of these millionaires, but apparently boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has. What you’re about to read is a white collar boxing phenomenon. Amateur boxers taking the bull by the horns and creating their own unsanctioned boxing match. Who cares? Apparently millions of live viewers care.
American Youtube sensation Logan Paul from Ohio, is a 6’2” bleach blonde 24 year old with a “Look at me” vibe. His boxing opponent, a British 26 year old known as KSI, is a YouTuber and a comedy rapper. He’s not trying to fly under the radar either with big hair and loud apparel. Their feud started when KSI fought an amateur fight on youtube, and Paul got in on the action with trash talk. These two are something an entire galaxy of kids love and faithfully watch and support.
“He’s famous, and he’s white” “We can’t lose!” said two time heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs and trainer to Logan Paul in the pre fight press conference. The grudge between the opposing teams trainers was on fire as well. Vidal Riley trainer to KSI ridiculed for not being a real boxing trainer, got into a physical altercation with Briggs and their team at the official weigh in causing melee at the Xbox LA Live outdoor platform.
The event had a week long build up with short video screenings at The Belasco Theatre in downtown LA. A few days later, a press conference at Tao Nightclub and Restaurant in the heart of Hollywood. This conference had plenty of awkward moments, constantly reminding the media that this was a different kind of boxing entertainment event. Logan Paul danced to the ambient music on a private balcony dressed up in DAZN Sports Streaming banners while the media waited. It was an incredibly loud silence when the floor was opened up for questions. The media had not one question for either of them or their trainers. “What the f*** am I doing here” said Paul, followed by “Really? Not one question?” by KSI. The media wanted their one on one interview time that they never got.
Jake Paul, Logan’s brother, made sure everyone saw him entering the nightclub clenching his green WBC belt. I have no idea how he got the championship belt, I was afraid to ask. Jake Pauls bleached butter yellow toupee looking hairdo is quite enough to get this boy into a fist fight on a daily basis.
Matchroom Boxing Promotions treated this event like any other official main event, and filled the undercard with professional boxers, world champions, and two MMA fighters with wrestling backgrounds to make their professional boxing debut. Their fight was uncomfortable to watch. Luckily, nobody got hurt.
The Staples Center was at capacity, packed with tweens. The age demographic of the fan base seemed to be 12 to 16 with a few “20 somethings.” The kids could have cared less about the undercard fights. Throughout all of the professional undercard fights the audience would suddenly stand up, ooh and ahh and jump out of their rows to ask for a selfie with more teenage youtube superstars. It was as if Michael Jackson had risen from the dead and walked into the isles based on the commotion. The audience energy was on fire. This went on all evening, but it wasn’t for boxing champions or hollywood royalty.
One thing I must say is that the show ran like a well oiled machine. It had better, it was approaching 8 pm, these kids had to be in bed by 10 pm the latest. I decided to go get some munchies and look around a bit. I talked to a few spectators old enough to buy an adult beverage, and they were quick to proclaim “We’re only here for KSI, we only watch MMA.” The next person I spoke with proclaimed “I’m a true boxing fan and I’m only here for Billy Joe Saunders’ the British boxer with the colorful reputation.
Justin Beiber was in the house, so was Whiz Khalifa. Kids no longer learn cursive writing in school but they sure learn profanity from these youtube stars that never held back an F bomb or even worse throughout the entire fight week and in the ring on live network.
The bout was set for six rounds. KSI won by split decision. The best part was in round three when KSI knocked Paul down but Logan Paul was too smart, and held on to KSI to not hit the mat.
On the undercard, Matchroom Boxing had some legitimate boxing talents in the ring. Ronny Rios now 32-3 (16 KO’s) an American featherweight signed to Goldenboy, got the win against Hugo Barrio 28-8-1 (18 KO’s) with a 4th round knockout!
Diego Pacheco just 18 years old, is one to keep your eyes on. Pacheco is from Los Angeles and LA loves him! The crowd was chanting his name as he knocked his opponent Aaron Casper 5-3 (4 KO’s) down in the first round. Pacheco knocked Casper down twice in round 4 winning with a KO!
Billy Joe Saunders fighting out of Hatfield England now 29-0 (14 KO’s) vs Marcelo Cocerces
“El Terrible” now 28-1-1 (15 KO’s) from San Jorge Argentina was solid boxing for the first four rounds. El Argentino was no walk in the park for BJ. This was a 12 round title fight for the WBO Middleweight Championship of the World and both boxers were intense. Corceres looks like a boxer from the 50’s with jet black hair and scar over the eyebrow. Billy Joe Saunders delivered a mean uppercut but also took some cheap shots. Saunders knocked him down three times in round 11. Stopped by the referee, Saunders remains the Middleweight Champion of the World in his American debut. Billy Joe Saunders revealed he had “Always dreamed of fighting in America.” “I hope you liked the Knockout” BJ told the American fans.
Devin “The Dream” Haney walked out to The O’Jays “For The Love of Money” with his colgate smile and can’t lose energy. With a three inch height advantage, his opponent Alfredo Santiago, now 12-1 (4 KO’s) was a good challenge. Santiago’s last fight was a win by KO. Devin Haney is both the youngest promoter and champion. His opponent “Ojo” walked out to a lovely slow song as opposed to the usual, and has notable big sad eyes. Santiago, from Puerto Rico had an undefeated record and had plenty to say at the weigh in. He did good in round one landing some good rights to Haney’s face.
Haney fighting out of Las Vegas, has a jab that won’t quit. When Santiago had a right hook, Haney answered with a mean body shot. This fight went all 12 rounds with Haney unable to reach Santiago at times. Haney dropped Santiago in round 5 with double right hooks. Both looking for the knockout, Santiago had some good rounds landing another right to Haney. Santiago had to eat a couple of body shots, one clearly a low blow. Round ten both were still spry and strong. The Championship rounds 11 and 12 scored 120 -107 in unanimous decision for Haney. The fresh, new, young audience booed. Devin told DAZN host that he had dislocated his shoulder in the early rounds and he wasn’t at his best.
American favorite Nikita “White Chocolate” Ababiy now 8-0 (6 KO’s) vs Jonathan Batista 19-16 (12 KO’s) was unbelievable to see. Nikita, from Brooklyn, was getting the best of Batista quickly in round one. After a power shot to the body and a knock down, Batista was visibly angry and after the bell rang he tried to punch White Chocolate over the referees arms, and then tried to do it again! He was disqualified immediately by referee Ray Corona.
Have we lost our true talents to fast and instant gratification? Is it because nobody has the time or the patience because someone may have more followers? Are the millennials just taking cuts and saying I can get there faster and cheaper with my Youtube channel? The truth is there is no shortage of professional boxers that have given their life to the sport that pray for the opportunity to get on a fight card like this. The earnings are no joke. The boxers on the undercard are reportedly earning between $6000 and $9000 dollars. First time professional wrestler turned boxer Josh Brueckner made a sweet $12,500. KSI and Logan Paul each made $900,000.
For many long term boxing fans, this was a spectacle, with and an essence of a WWE show. For others it was change and a sign of the times.
Eddie Hearn and his crew were salivating at the “numbers” and gushing over the YouTubers for the “access” to a “new fresh YOUNG” audience. The world of boxing and all of its glory sometimes seem like days of the past. Will these 13 year olds become diehard boxing fans? If not, maybe their parents will. Will there be a Part 3? Is this a sign of what’s to come, watered down versions of musicians, artists and athletes? At the end of it all. Logan Paul said, “I don’t like being a d*** to you, it’s all for the sell, I have nothing but respect for you.” With the grudge now over, let’s hope boxing promoters don’t extract a reality tv network out of an elite sport. As Andy Warhol said, “In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minuets”