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Continue reading the main story Logan Paul. Logan Paul. This is both a legitimate headline and a naked chase for viewership. Just like this boxing match that is actually being sanctioned in California. Their headlining rematch in Los Angeles is sanctioned as a professional fight.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. Paul and KSI represent a distinctly modern twist on prizefights with an emphasis on the prize. Rather than over-the-hill boxers searching for one last payday, they are young YouTube stars who the boxing world is treating simultaneously with disdain and embrace, hoping they can introduce a stagnant sport to a new, young, diverse audience.
Paul and KSI will make their professional boxing debut Saturday night in a six-round bout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, taking top billing on a card that includes two title fights.
Here are at least some answers. Who are these guys? Logan Paul, 24, is from Ohio and became famous by posting humorous, bro-tastic videos on Vine, the now-defunct video-sharing app.
He is the archetype of a social media influencer, mostly unknown to those over 30 yet compelling in inscrutable ways to his rabid following of young people. His YouTube channel has KSI, 26, grew up outside London. In , he began posting videos of himself playing the FIFA soccer video games to YouTube, though he has since transitioned to more humorous videos and promoting a budding rap career.
Last year, Paul caused worldwide outrage when he posted video of a trek through Aokigahara forest in Japan, known as a destination for people to kill themselves. Why are they fighting? He then called out Paul, and the two fought before a sold-out crowd at the Manchester Arena in England last fall.
The undercard featured a fight between their influencer brothers, Deji Olatunji and Jake Paul. Paul and KSI insist they dislike each other, and lob insults back and forth.
Where does legitimate displeasure end and drama contrived to create more drama — all of it filmed, stuffed with advertisements and made available to view, of course — begin?
Can they actually fight? What does being professional even mean?
Most importantly, compared with amateur boxing, going pro allows boxers to be fully compensated. But there are many rule differences that make things more dangerous. Professional fights are regulated by state-based organizations, in this case the California State Athletic Commission.
As a sport, boxing has struggled with deaths because of issues like weight management, dehydration and head trauma.
So Paul and KSI are licensed to fight professionally? How do two YouTubers with no boxing experience get licensed? An application for a license in California includes examinations by a general physician and specialists, including brain and heart exams.
As long as the medical professionals have no reservations, the license is more or less rubber-stamped. More difficult is getting an actual fight sanctioned.
A license allows one to fight, but each individual bout still needs approval. The boxing commission learns what it can about the fighters, and requires licensed trainers to vouch for their training. There is often little or no information about boxers seeking their debut.
For Paul and KSI, there was a professionally-filmed video of a previous fight. Should this fight have been sanctioned? In this case, Paul and KSI both have little boxing record, experience or skill to speak of, and are both in good shape.
Boxing promoters contacted for this story concurred, saying that YouTube stardom aside, this is often what pro debuts looks like: Two guys who trained hard flailing at each other.
In fact, the oft-cited example of a fight that many believe should not have been approved was Mayweather versus McGregor, which generated hundreds of millions of dollars.
So what were their applications like?
What is the funniest thing Paul said to promote this fight? The moon is closer than all of the stars. The arena has a capacity of 20, but in an email, the promoter said it will be configured for about 12, to 13, spectators. They expect it to be full. Is anybody else fighting Saturday night?
Paul and KSI might be the headliners, but there are six other fights on the card, including a lightweight title fight between Devin Haney and Alfredo Santiago and a super middleweight title fight between Billy Joe Saunders and Marcelo Esteban Coceres. Wait, YouTubers are headlining over two title fights?
Promoters can market and sell cards any way they like. Is this insulting to boxing?
It depends on whom you ask. Boxing fans often complain about the lack of mainstream coverage, and then complain about the trade-offs that come from mainstream coverage, including media outlets like this one devoting more ink to the circus than to compelling matchups.