By: Sean Crose
A journalist’s job is to report the news. To be more specific, a boxing journalist’s job is to report the news in and around the sport of boxing. Hence, the endless articles, videos and podcasts dedicated to the Paul brothers, particularly younger brother Jake Paul. Like it or not, Jake Paul is news. In truth, he may be the most well-known boxer in the world today. You probably liked reading those words about as much as I enjoyed writing them. Still, Paul has made himself worthy of discussion by any objective measure.
“I just want to continue to be the most disruptive boxer in the history of the sport,” Paul told TMZ a few days ago. So far, he’s succeeding wildly. “I think I could be fighting against Canelo Alvarez for the WBC or the WBO championship belt,” he went on to add. “Why not, baby?” Why not, indeed? Well, for starters, it’s doubtful Canelo will allow Paul to face him unless Paul somehow legitimately climbs the sport’s rankings. Other name fighters, however, would undoubtedly love to get Paul in the ring.
Of course, Paul is currently set to battle former UFC star Tyron Woodley in a boxing match. Should Woodley win convincingly, that would put a stop to much of the Paul hype. Strange, though, how Paul isn’t facing UFC stars like the Diaz brothers, who have very strong boxing backgrounds (they’ve worked with Andre Ward, for Pete’s sake). There’s no doubt Paul takes boxing seriously, but no one should pretend he’s looking to scale any ladders. This is ultimately a celebrity endeavor. And, in the here and now, that’s apparently enough.
The other day, a friend’s son asked me if I had watched a recent card that went down between different social media stars. I told him I hadn’t, and he subsequently informed me that all ten years of him absolutely loved it. That’s when it hit me – boxing has essentially become the internet ages’ “Battle of the Network Stars.” Nothing more. Only, of course, it’s a lot more for those of us who love and take it seriously. Novelty fights lose their novelty when they rule supreme over the entire sport. The good news is that the chances are still very high that this is all just a fad, that it will fade away into the ether of pop culture soon enough.
And then boxing will once more have to rely on itself to bring in public interest.
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