Even Wiccan enthusiasts don’t believe you can pray for asteroids to hit people, not successfully at least. There is no existential force that is going to stop Jake Paul and Logan Paul from ruining boxing. This one falls on us.
The Paul brothers made some unexpected and unholy creep from YouTube stars to professional boxing sideshow freaks. Make no mistake, The Pauls are marketing geniuses. Or run by marketing geniuses. Or run by Satan himself. This world is full of evil smart people. But we try not to let them ruin sports. Outside of NFL owners, obviously.
The Paul Brothers are the Internet. The Ohio natives came of age as teens in the early 2010’s on Vine, followed by YouTube, after the owners of Vine shut it down because they felt so guilty for ruining the world. The Paul Brothers specialty was being stupid, loud, and mugging for the camera. Mock it all you want — they soon had millions of followers on their various prank and clown shows. Disney hired them because that’s how mega-corporations run by stodgy old people deal with a burgeoning social media phenomenon they know nothing about. Hire the super popular brothers on YouTube to bring their online brand of stupid to the Disney channel.
Much to Disney’s chagrin, both Pauls quickly chose Instagram models and party houses over being on-brand for the Mouse House and they were let go. Stay with me, we’re not to the bad part yet.
Both Paul brothers were in and out of real and fake controversies living life as junior Dan Bilzerians. Also, there was that time Logan Paul filmed a dead guy in Japan’s “suicide forest” where sad Honshuians ritualistically go to hang themselves. It’s kind of like their mall.
Logan Paul had the bright idea to upload the ghoulish images to his YouTube channel, essentially photobombing an in-process funeral. Meanwhile, Jake Paul got the bright idea he was going to become a professional boxer.
Or just be a professional boxer. Like, wish it into existence. This is where these two blonde imps become more than blips on the drunken teen superstar crash and burn historical map.
The traditional way to enter the sport of boxing is what you might call The Mike Tyson Route. You’re born into a broken home, horrible poverty, and crime, you somehow survive your single-digit years, eventually finding your way into a gym to learn how to defend yourself. Or to beat people for a living a middle schooler. Either reason is valid admission to a boxing gym.
Once in the grimy door, you clean spit buckets, mop disgusting bathrooms, and promise to keep mum on any fights you see being fixed. If you’re a loyal and hardworking tyke, you get to work out. If you’re strong and tough, you get noticed. Somebody trains you. You fight guys bigger than you who routinely bust up your face and leave you bloody and you hope you can scratch together enough money for a bag of ice for your face. Past that gauntlet, you start taking on serious junior fights, with guys who came up hard like you looking to take their anger out on your ribcage. You inflict a ton of pain and ignore a ton more. Dues are paid. Lots of dues. And if you’re one in a thousand talent and grit-wise of such kids, you can make some scratch.
That’s the traditional Mike Tyson Route to the ring. Then, there’s what the Paul brothers do. That is, you become super famous for pulling pranks on YouTube, inject yourself full of steroids and spend your massive amount of free time training to box, then book yourself a celebrity spectacle fight against some has-been famous person typically much smaller than you. First, the Paul brothers took on the British version of themselves, rapper and ‘YouTuber” KSI and his younger brother, respectively. Jake Paul has since moved on to fight tiny former NBA player Nate Robinson, then former college wrestling champ, Ben Askren, who wasn’t allowed to wrestle. Like telling Ronaldo he also can’t use his feet. Game on, El Bicho.
Logan Paul has scheduled an upcoming boxing match with a former legit pugilist, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. People admire Mayweather but don’t like him. Which is not quite the same as Logan Paul who nobody admires and also nobody likes.
Mayweather has a history of being a hyperbolic self-promoter and a girlfriend abuser. The combo makes for one enormous rump-fissure. In Mayweather, they found a guy you think you’d root for Logan Paul to beat. But then you’ve never been forced to choose sides in a fight between Soft Rock and Trance. Total wildcard.
The Paul brothers are not tiny annoying persons. Jake is 6’1 and preternaturally ripped like Drago in Rocky IV; Logan is 6’2″ and unnaturally ripped like pre-testing days middle linebackers with horrible back acne. For comparison sake, Floyd Mayweather is 5’8″ and fought at 150. He’s allowed to weigh in for the Logan Paul fight up to 160. Meanwhile, the “YouTuber” is allowed to go up to 190.
Let’s step back a moment and discuss the Marquess of Queensberry rules. These are the 19th-century British guidelines meant to transform the sport of boxing from bare-knuckle brawls into a game of orderly hand-to-hand combat. Sure, it’s fun when people die from being punched bare in the temple. But John Graham Chambers was more of a sporting man and said, hey, fellas, what if we build a ring with ropes and have gloves and knockout counts and don’t allow second-parties to come in the ring and stab people with knives in between rounds. Really, ring girls was a big improvement there.
A few years later, somebody got the transformational idea that watching giant men fight tiny men didn’t live up to that whole gentlemanly angle. Weight classes were born. In stones naturally, not pounds. They used stones because they were British and unaware of the variability of random stones as a fixed weight of measure. Finally, it wasn’t the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that decided the fights. Plus, everybody booed when tiny dudes would run pointless circles around big galoots. That’s not boxing, that’s basketball.
You don’t see big people fighting little people anymore, at least not on the main road. It’s not sporting. But the Paul Brothers fights aren’t about being sporting, they are about being profitable.
These fights are backed by the company Triller, with their branded name Fightclub. The outfit is headed by Ryan Kavanaugh who used to run Relativity Media before 10,000 lawsuits and an equal number of bankruptcies knocked it out. Make of that what you will. Kavanaugh is known as a rogue in Hollywood, or a pirate if you were foolhardy enough to lend him your money. This new venture is perfect for him.
Boxing is hardly an innocent sport. Throughout its history, it’s been plagued by every bit of vice, corruption, and malfeasance ever dreamed up by a guy with a thick neck and handgrip strength like Superman. But in the end, it’s always come down to two guys, mano e mano, in the ring, one has to beat the other one into submission. It’s rather beautiful in that respect.
What the Paul Brothers do isn’t just a mockery of the beautiful sport of boxing, it’s an assault. When Kimbo Slice used to film backyard bare-knuckle brawls, but that wasn’t boxing; it didn’t pretend to be boxing. It was fighting. Nobody came out in spectacular trunks to music with a referee utilizing the essential rules of the sport, or any sport. The Pauls are going full package on insisting their celebrity spectacles are boxing. And for this, they are getting paid big money.
Both Logan Paul and Jake Paul are estimated to be worth about $20 million each. That dough came largely from their brand and sponsorship ad deals through their massive social reach. If you guessed international escort work, you were wrong, but nobody can blame you for that guess. They both claim they don’t do these stupid “boxing” matches for money, but for the love of boxing. Which belies the millions they make on each event. Precise numbers are hard to gather as the guarantees are relatively small against the percentage of the PPV sales.
Logan Paul’s take for his upcoming fight with Mayweather is said to be a low six-figure guarantee against 3% of gross PPV sales. At $50 a pop, with an anticipated potential 2 million subscribers (well short of the 50 million who will watch via pirate stream) that’s $3 million. Mayweather is reported to be receiving 10x that at minimum. Not bad for what will likely be two rounds of staged punches and outcome. Don’t blame Mayweather for taking this gross exhibition. He’s going to take home $30 million at least for an evening he probably isn’t even training for. Also, his reputation technically can’t take a hit.
Sure, it’s easy to sound like a whiner about how the way any sport is played today isn’t the same as yesteryear. I get it. Football players used to have nothing on their heads for protection but beaver pelts and third-stage syphilis. Larry Bird used to score while being effectively sexually assaulted by at least three members of the Detroit Pistons. But that whining is different. Logan Paul and Jake Paul haven’t found a more-skill-and-less-brutal version of their sport, that would be Steph Curry shooting 35-foot 3’s or Patrick Mahomes side slinging pigskins 50 yards to receivers downfield.
These loathsome siblings have cut at the core of boxing, declaring that coming up the hard way, brutal training, life of dedication, paying your dues, and ultimately risking life and limb in the ring is no longer required. You simply need to be famous on YouTube, get ripped, and you’re the top boxing PPV of the year.
Shut up, I’m not whining.
I’d love to know what you think about the Paul Brothers and these boxing matches. Maybe you have an argument defending these blonde numbskulls. I’d certainly like to hear one. Share in comments below.