KSI vs. Logan Paul: an insult to pro boxing or a PPV masterstroke?
YouTubers will turn professional and go head-to-head in a rematch
JJ “KSI” Olatunji and Logan Paul will go head-to-head in the boxing ring again after it was announced that the YouTube rivals will turn professional for a rematch in Los Angeles.
Following the majority draw in the first fight in Manchester in August 2018 the duo will battle this time at LA’s Staples Center on 9 November.
The six-round rematch will be promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and shown live on streaming service DAZN.
With nearly 40 million YouTube subscribers between them the duo’s rematch could attract more than the one million pay-per-view (PPV) sales that the first fight achieved.
“The first fight was the largest live PPV sports event in the history of the internet,” said Jeff Levin and Paolo Moreno, managers of Logan Paul.
“We are excited to be partnering with the best brands in combat sports in Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN for the rematch.”
‘This event will be huge’
Hearn, who is Anthony Joshua’s promoter, had called the first fight in Manchester “embarrassing”.
He said: “Thirteen months ago when the first fight took place I smirked and pondered how embarrassing it would be to stage this event in a 20,000-seater arena.
“What I saw was a phenomenon; a sold out arena, over one million PPV buys but more importantly an energy of a new audience to the sport of boxing.
“When I was asked to be involved in the rematch it got me excited but I had some requests to help integrate the two audiences. I requested that both fighters turn professional and undergo the same medicals that any other fighter would. I asked that the fighters lose the headguards and use 10oz gloves, if we are going to do this then let’s do it properly.
“This event will be huge, a world championship card beneath an event that will create a hype for boxing not seen in the US for a long time. Staples Center will be sold out and a new audience will join our great sport.”
It’s widely reported that world champion Billy Joe Saunders will make his return to the ring on the undercard.
There’s no doubt that the YouTubers have a huge commercial appeal but is the professional status of the rookies an insult to boxers around the world?
We look at what the fighters, pundits and fans had to say…
What the YouTubers say
KSI, British YouTuber
“Finally, after over a year since our rematch, I get to enter the ring once again to fight Logan Paul. If I’m being honest, I didn’t fight well at all in the first fight, and even then, I still managed to draw against him. This time I won’t make it so close, especially now that it’s a pro fight, no head guards and 10oz gloves hahahaha, the time to end him is nearing. I can’t wait to see the memes of him slumped on the ground after I’ve repeatedly beaten the life out of him. He’s facing a different animal this time. He will soon realise.”
Logan Paul, American YouTuber
“I’m excited to ruin JJs face and I want to thank DAZN for giving me the platform to do so. Last fight, KSI couldn’t beat me with only three months of training under my belt. For the past year, while JJ has been wasting his time trying to become a rapper, I’ve been training every single day. I’m finally getting what I wanted from the beginning - no headgear, 10oz gloves, and the opportunity to dismantle JJ’s repugnant face in Los Angeles, my home city. After November 9, the embarrassment of losing will eat away at KSI’s ego for the next decade; he will be afraid to show face in America. This time, I won’t leave it up to the judges.”
Reactions from pundits
Patrick Redford, DeadSpin
“What’s up YouTubers, welcome back to Da Zone, the exclusive home of Canelo Alvarez, but somehow also the exclusive home of a deeply embarrassing fake boxing match.”
Ryan Garcia, American boxer
“Some of you mad about the Logan Paul v KSI fight don’t understand that no matter what they will bring a new set of eyeballs to boxing and if just 10% stay boxing fans then that just benefits boxing tremendously.”
Mookie Alexander, SB Nation Bloody Elbow KSI vs. Logan Paul boxing rematch lands on DAZN, fight sanctioned as professional bout
“Nope, that headline is not made up. Several legitimate, world-class fighters will be the supporting cast for the YouTube Boxing Championship of the World [or whatever the hell it’s called]. It also means that we, as combat sports media, are basically obligated to cover this show.”
Rory Robinson, Middle Easy
“Regardless of the level of the two competitors, they obviously know how to draw attendance and money. Two things that promoters love.”