Posted on 06/04/2021
By Matt Gerovac
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen the hype. Internet personalities are taking the boxing world by storm, making millions of dollars on a sport where it typically takes fighters years of sweat equity to make the same type of money, if they’re lucky. Boxing traditionalists are nauseated by the relative instant success, while others have a more forward-thinking attitude. As an amateur fighter and trainer myself, I have mixed feelings about it. So, I think the best way to process all the information on my social media feeds is to simply list the pros and cons of this phenomenon and leave the judgement to the judgemental.
- It’s bringing new fans to the sport of boxing. I’ve noticed that a lot of new people are getting interested in boxing, coming to the gym, learning about boxing, and talking about it more. This is all great news for the sport that I love.
- It shows that there are levels to this game. Even to the untrained eye of the casual boxing fan, it should be obvious that these internet personalities are low-level fighters. Many of them are not terrible, but they’re certainly not world class. If casual fans take the time to watch the real boxers on the undercards, they’ll notice a difference in the technique, cardio, and ring generalship. Even if a fraction of those same casuals stay interested in real boxing and improve their knowledge, it’s a win for the sport.
- To true fans and fighters, it reiterates the importance of good matchmaking. These internet personalities have teams of people – trainers, advisors, coaches, and real fighters that don’t want to put them in real danger. It’s about maximizing the reward while taking minimal risks. This happens in real boxing as well (yes, I said it. REAL BOXING). The promoters want to bring their fighters up slowly, pad their records, and put them in a position where they can win belts and make as much money as possible while taking as little damage as possible. This may never be more evident than in the matches these internet personalities have found themselves in.
- Real fight fans are getting tired of hearing about it. True fans of boxing, those that know a bit about the fight game or are in the business themselves, are getting fed up with the circus. Granted, there is a bit of hype involved with any fight. Even the fighters themselves have been known to trump up their disdain for their opponents to help “sell a fight.” But the internet personalities are masters of hype. They, somehow, created hype out of nothing, so making a fight interesting is relatively easy. The result is an incredibly hyperbolic lead-up to a fight that usually ends up being a foregone conclusion.
- It takes away from the legitimacy of an already suspect industry. The fight game has a history of shady business dealings, so this is certainly not helping its reputation. It’s not called “The Hurt Business” because of the obvious. With feuding promoters, the alphabet soup of belts, and allegations of PED’s to name a few of the recurring issues in professional boxing, the last thing this sport needs is more uncertainty.
- By buying these fights on pay per view, we’re padding the pockets of people that haven’t taken the real steps to earn it. Even if these internet personalities are putting in the work now, it’s a fraction of the time and sweat equity it typically takes for a young fighter to build their name and make a real career out of prize fighting. If we continue to buy these fights, we’re a part of the problem.
- Why pay big money to watch a predictable fight? As I mentioned before, matchmakers know what they’re doing. But just as much as I’d love to see Errol Spence fight Terrence Crawford, I couldn’t care less about who these internet personalities set up to fall down as they continue to get richer.
The bottom line is these internet personalities are certainly bringing more fans to the sport of boxing. But at what cost? I think it’s important that the real fight fans, coaches, and fighters have patience with the tourists of our sport. If you know something about boxing, take the time to explain it to those that don’t. If I’m not training myself or someone else, I love jumping in on conversations about boxing and dropping a little knowledge without coming off as a know-it-all. As a trainer, I’ve been cashing in myself on the sport’s recent upswing in popularity, so I can’t rightfully complain.
I also want to make sure I mention the fact that I did not once utter any of these internet personalities’ names in this article. My feed is already slammed with all this junk and I think we, the fighters, trainers, and true fight fans, should post and repost information about the fighters grinding it out on the heavy bags right next to us, rather than these relative tourists bankrolling on the general public’s lack of real boxing knowledge.