Boxing can be a winner from the KSI vs. Logan Paul bout
It may not have been boxing in its purest form but there is no reason why the sport cannot be the real winner, in lieu of one in the actual ring, from the money-spinning KSI vs. Logan Paul fight.
With over 37 million YouTube subscribers between them, many of whom are young and impressionable, the sport of boxing has a real opportunity to grow off the back of what has been dubbed as 'the biggest event in internet history'.
The sensation of YouTuber boxing all began late last year. Two British social media stars, KSI and Joe Weller were previously very good friends, but after falling out they decided to settle their differences in the ring.
What followed was a monumental success for YouTube. In February, millions around the world tuned in on the platform to watch the pair go head-to-head in front of a 7,000 strong crowd in one of the biggest white-collar boxing events the world has ever seen. KSI - real name Olajide William Olatunji - came out on top, stopping Weller in the third of six rounds.
KSI immediately called out controversial vlogger Paul after that contest. Weeks earlier, Paul had hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons after uploading an ill-advised vlog to his channel depicting the corpse of a recently deceased man who had committed suicide in Japan.
The fight was officially signed in March, and the hype started to build and build.
Tickets for the bout at Manchester Arena started at £50 a pop and sold relatively quickly - though the fight was not a complete sellout. There would also be a pay per view fee of £7.50 ($10) to watch online. This fight was always going to be a moneymaking machine.
Fight night itself was a professionally organised affair. The legendary Michael Buffer was roped in to MC, professional fighters including Badu Jack and Anthony Yarde attended. Everything was as a professional arena contest would be. The only difference besides the obvious lower standard of fare - the crowd was filled with teenagers with their parents instead of the typical boxing fan.
Boxing purists may feel that events like this make a mockery of the sport - 'who on earth are these idiots?!' they probably thought, but this event can only be a good thing for boxing. The exposure that the sport has got from the fight can bring a new wave of fans to watch the professionals do battle. Some of those may even take the sport up for themselves having seen their heroes go from making videos in their bedrooms to selling out fight nights in arenas. After all, if KSI and Paul can do it, why can't they?
While many boxing fans will now be fed up of the whole circus around the fight, it cannot be argued that boxing has shifted into the public conscience. A new audience will have been introduced to boxing that may never have tuned into fight nights had their social media idols not duelled in the ring. They may never have paid the sky-high PPV rates needed to tune in to watch Anthony Joshua and company. Maybe now they will.
However, there is no denying that many a boxing fan will now know the names KSI and Logan Paul given the intense media coverage that accompanied their contest. However, more importantly, non-boxing fans are now talking about boxing.
There may not have been a winner in the ring, but perhaps the true winner can be boxing. After all, we'll have another YouTuber showdown to look forward to (or dread) come February 2019 along with everything that comes with it.