By: Hans Themistode
Former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson remembers the good ole days. The times of yesteryear where boxing was amongst the most talked about sports in the world. Nearly 30-40 years ago, living a normal life as a professional boxer was nearly impossible with the amount of fanfare. Fast forward to today however, and Tyson believes that boxing was heading by the wayside.
It isn’t just other sports such as the NFL, NBA and MLB that have passed boxing along, but Tyson also believes that so did the UFC. Regardless of how boxing was perceived over the past few years, Tyson is under the impression that the sport he once ruled over is making a comeback, and not because he’s decided to make his de-facto return to it.
“Boxing was pretty much a dying sport. UFC has been kicking our butt. Now we got these YouTube boxers and boxing is going back. Thanks to the YouTube boxers.”
Tyson’s love and admiration for YouTube boxers stems from having YouTube star Jake Paul and his six-round bout against former NBA dunk champion Nate Robinson as the co-main event of his eight-round exhibition contest against Roy Jones Jr. this past weekend.
Although Tyson’s debatable draw against Jones Jr. created much of the buzz, it was Paul’s second knockout of Robinson that stole the night. Watching the former NBA player lie motionless on the canvas sent social media and television talk shows into a frenzy.
YouTubers such as Paul, his brother Logan and KSI have set a new trend over the years but one that hasn’t been greeted with open arms by the boxing community. Yet, with over 2 million viewers tuning in to see KSI and Logan Paul go at it in August of 2018, the numbers for these special events have only continued to skyrocket.
Handing YouTube boxers their credit is difficult for Tyson’s ego to handle. With that being said, as the proliferation continues to pile up in terms of fans, Tyson thinks it’s time to embrace this new age of boxing.
“Listen, my ego says so many things,” said Tyson following his exhibition bout. “But my reality is they help boxing so much. Boxing owes these YouTube boxers some kind of respect. They should give them some belts because these guys make boxing alive.”