By David Corner (@Undisputed_Talk) – ‘Influencer Boxing’ – Love it or hate it I guarantee you one thing, you’ve seen it! Whether you’ve actively sought to catch the latest press event, or have been unwillingly bombarded with it on your social media timelines, you can’t possibly have avoided it.
In fact, nothing short of living on an isolated island, with no means of communication with the outside world, would have protected you from it.
From Dillon Danis sharing explicit pictures of Logan Paul’s partner, or even worse, timelining her dating history to an almost obsessive level of detail, to John Fury’s explosive melt down leading him to physically assaulting a cage in an almost possessed trance, it’s EVERYWHERE!
This has resulted in many ‘hardcore’ fight fans distancing themselves, and the sport they love from this ’embarrassing’ cast off. But, is it truly more ridiculous? More damaging to the image of ‘proper boxing’ or is this just another act in the circus we call boxing?
Hype and hysteria are nothing new in the sport. The need to create ‘beef’ in order to attract an audience is almost as critical as the vaseline smeared on a cut-mans latex gloves. It sells and ultimately those at the top rely on the numbers in order to keep the sport alive.
Of course, without the ‘beef’ the likes of you and I, the hardcore fans, we’re tuning in. Whether it’s a the nervous showing of a debuting pugilist, a hot prospect, contender, champion or lb for lb star, we’re there. But we are few, on the grand scheme of things we’re merely a tiny speck of a gigantic potential viewing audience. It’s hard to stomach I admit, but the ‘casual’ audience is where the money’s at. It always has been.
Does Mike Tyson v Lennox Lewis do 1.95 million PPV sales if both men quietly, respectfully went about their business? Creating no ripples, no headlines, no noise in the build up to their 2002 showdown? Is every workplace, school, bar and anywhere else you can think of brimming with anticipation had Tyson and Lewis not come to blows? Had Tyson not thrown homophobic slurs at the onlooking journalists?
What about David Haye and Derek Chisora and the infamous ‘David Haye glassed me’ debacle. In fact the latter, Chisora, is an expert at hyping a fight using unorthodox measures. From slaps, and spitting water, to planting the lips on his opponents he’s no stranger to building a fight by any means necessary.
Whether we like it or not, the events we’ve (often involuntarily) witnessed over the course of the past few weeks aren’t unique to the ‘influencer’ scene. Of course we, as proper boxing fans, try to distance ourselves from the softcore version of our sport. No true fight fan is giving an influencer credit no matter how impressive they look, but let’s be real, without these actions the sport would be in a much more dire position. It’s these often cringeworthy actions that bring the numbers, the very numbers this sport so desperately needs to survive.
Whilst I have your attention, could I ask a HUGE favour? Can you spare a few pounds to help fun The Ringside Charitable Trusts amazing project that aims to build a residential care facility for former fighters who desperately need help? See my go fund me here – https://gofund.me/59c5a0bb