A Saturday Afternoon Spent Watching Morons Tussle on YouTube

By Paul Magno on August 27, 2018
A Saturday Afternoon Spent Watching Morons Tussle on YouTube
But this was a show aimed at kids and at fight-curious YouTube/pop culture junkies.

Now, why exactly was I in my house on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, watching YouTubers paw at one another in a faux-boxing event…

Now, why exactly was I in my house on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, watching YouTubers paw at one another in a faux-boxing event—and paying 10 bucks for the privilege?

It’s because of my 11-year-old nephew Julian and a message he sent me late Thursday night.

“Are you going to be writing about the KSI vs. Logan Paul fight this Saturday?”

When my nephew shows interest in “my” sport and my weirdo job, I kinda want to encourage his curiosity.

I had heard a little bit about this “fight” between YouTube personalities, but I really had no intention of actually watching, much less paying (something I don’t even do with boxing pay-per-views).

While I had no idea who KSI was, I had become way too familiar with Logan Paul and his brother Jake (who fought KSI’s brother on the undercard) during an extended stay in Florida with my nieces and nephew last year. The Pauls are quite possibly the most annoying human beings on the face of the planet, producing excruciatingly unfunny “comedic” vlog-style YouTube videos. Logan is best known in the “real” world for the hot water he fell into when he posted video footage of a suicide victim in Japan’s infamous “suicide forest” late last year.

Together, KSI and Logan Paul have about 38 million followers and more than 9 billion total views on their videos. There was clearly money to be made in a manufactured “event” and, with YouTube itching to dip their toes into the live PPV market, the green light was given to this 8-bout “boxing” card comprised entirely of dueling YouTube personalities at Manchester Arena in KSI’s native UK.

Now, this is where my curiosity further compelled me to hit “BUY.”

I wanted to do some spying for boxing. I mostly wanted to see how YouTube would handle a live worldwide event, slammed with traffic, after the Golden Boy/Facebook Watch debacle a little while back (where the stream died after the fourth round of the main event and the clueless GBP social media person kept asking the increasingly frustrated online audience, “so who do you think won THIS round?”).

I also was curious to see how a boxing event, not put together by boxing people, would do. Maybe there would be some lessons we could learn about reaching new audiences—Not that I was actually expecting boxing’s elderly and elderly-at-heart promoters to be open to any changes, of course.

All in all, the show was alright for what it was and the stream held together marvelously. As expected, there were some cringe-worthy moments for me, as a hardcore boxing fan. The doe-eyed ringside reporter asking if there was a difference between bantamweight and heavyweight reminded me what, exactly, I was watching and the play-by-play guy’s odd focus on “sharp” haircuts was a little off-putting.

But this was a show aimed at kids and at fight-curious YouTube/pop culture junkies. I get it.

The important thing was that this card succeeded at what it was trying to do—make money AND entertain. Over 15,000 enthusiastic young fans packed the sold out Manchester Arena for the card and PPV estimates for the event range anywhere from the conservative initial report of 800,000 buys to upwards of 25 million worldwide. (Interestingly enough as a side note, it appears that this card appealing to tech-savvy young people suffered mightily from their target market being so tech-savvy. It’s estimated that more than twice as many viewers saw the card via pirated streams than through the legal PPV channel.)

Of course, the overall skill level of this all-YouTuber card was not anywhere near the professional level (although most of those fighting were solid enough athletes, many had decent skills for novice fighters, and a few, like Faze Sensei and Overflow, were actually trained MMA fighters). In a lot of ways, though, it was more entertaining than many of the boxing undercards we see today, where showcase mismatches play to eerily quiet, nearly empty arenas. It was also a bit refreshing to see a boxing event not take itself so seriously. People were there to have a good time and the “fighters” were fully conscious of the need to entertain the fans.

“Real” boxing missed a big opportunity by not attaching themselves to this event in some way. Some promoter could’ve been a bit proactive, offering to help with logistics in exchange for a couple of slots for “real” fights on the undercard. Golden Boy, especially, looking to further hype their social media-friendly 20-year-old prospect Ryan Garcia, should’ve jumped at the opportunity to showcase young talent for millions of fans who normally would not be exposed to “legit” boxing.

Boxing businessmen could also have kicked the tires on yet another possible way to deliver cheap content effectively and straight to the consumer, without the need for a subscription-only TV intermediary. Aligning themselves with the industry leader in live streaming and on-demand videos, YouTube, could not only allow fans greater choice in what they pay to view, but also create an affordable ala carte system that lights fires under promoter backsides to make fights fans want to see and actually PROMOTE those fights properly.

But boxing, almost as an entire block, turned their noses up and laughed off the “silly” teenie bopper show. The only “boxing people” working the event were ring announcer Michael Buffer and former heavyweight champ Shannon Briggs, who served as the card’s boxing analyst.

The KSI-Logan Paul affair proved that there’s definitely money to be had in using new technology to reach new, eager, fight-curious fans—but unfortunately for boxing, until the dinosaurs in charge die off, that money will be made by non-boxing people.

As for the fights on that YouTube card?

Jake Paul beat Deji via fifth round corner stoppage in the co-feature. In the main event, Logan Paul and KSI fought to a six-round majority draw in their “YouTube Boxing Championship” bout.

And in case you’re wondering about the possibility of a rematch, there’s no need to give it much thought. The rematch, set for early next year at a venue in the US, was booked back when the initial bout was signed.

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  1. Koolz 04:29pm, 08/27/2018

    Who?

  2. snowflake 09:59am, 08/27/2018

    I didn’t *get* the whole Logan Paul/“YouTube star” thing until this weekend, when I saw a kid rocking some “Logang” merch and clothing. Little man was no older than 9.

    It’s for children. Young children

  3. Chico Salmon 08:11am, 08/27/2018

    Just watched a few of this Logan Paul’s videos. No wonder the kid had to resort to the shock value of laughing at a suicide to gain clicks. Despite tens of millions of views on his videos, which in today’s moronic world doesn’t shock me, this guy has absolutely no talent whatsoever. He even makes Amy Schumer look like a comedic genius.

  4. SMDH 05:58am, 08/27/2018

    What kind of sick freak makes a video mocking a suicide victim? And to think that other sick freaks are making this weirdo rich by clicking on his videos and paying to see him box? smdh.  “Social media entertainers?” This society is gone. Signs of the Apocalypse indeed.

  5. Chico Salmon 05:33am, 08/27/2018

    Never heard of either one of these guys, but then again, I don’t search Youtube for their type of videos. . A few of these Youtube guys and gals are pulling in 7 figures a year from what I understand. Nowadays anyone can become a celebrity thanks to Youtube,  and it won’t be long before these Youtubers will be just as famous as the perverts out in Hollyweird. Some will probably make just as much money as the Hollyweirders as well.

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