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ISLAND OF MISFIT BOYS (WHAT BOXING CAN LEARN FROM CRAPPY BOXING)

By Paul Magno | October 17, 2023
ISLAND OF MISFIT BOYS (WHAT BOXING CAN LEARN FROM CRAPPY BOXING)

It always amuses me that us boxing fans earn “real fan” street cred if we take time to search up and watch Bulgarian regional club shows or the door-opener 4-rounders of riverboat casino cards. Yet, it’s a knock against our “for realness” as serious fans if we sit down to observe a card of YouTuber/Influencer fluff fights. 

It’s totally not boxing-hip to say this, but there really is no difference between watching novice boxers who work full-time jobs as grocery store clerks and novice boxers who work at making goofy videos for You Tube. And, honestly, some of the “real” boxing novices are every bit as sloppy and lacking in skill as these celebrity boxing novices. 

There’s a certain snobbery among some boxing fans when it comes to “lesser” or “less pure” versions of their sport. It’s a level of snobbery that goes deeper than what other sports fans feel. Like, for instance, you won’t find baseball fans up in arms and declaring boycott against a celebrity softball game at Dodgers’ Stadium. You won’t find baseball fans bemoaning an attack on the sanctity of their game because JoJo Siwa is playing left field in the Mountain Dew MLB Celebrity Softball Game. 

But, maybe, the problem is that the Mountain Dew MLB Celebrity Softball Game isn’t outdrawing and garnering more attention than MLB playoff games. Maybe the snobbery-- as is the case with most forms of snobbery-- is born from insecurity. Maybe this “it’s an affront to my sensibilities” pearl clutching is really just a reaction to being outdone by someone and something you feel is inherently inferior to you (the same twitch in my gizzard I feel when I read most “mainstream” boxing media).

According to some reports, last Saturday’s Misfits Boxing pay-per-view card, with Logan Paul-Dillon Danis and KSI-Tommy Fury in the co-main events, generated 1.3 million buys-- more than Tank-Garcia, Canelo-Charlo, Crawford-Spence. And not a single one of the fighters on the card had as much skill as even a legit boxing mid-carder. 

Business is business and boxing is boxing. But for some in the boxing world, business and boxing are somehow intertwined. Because, inside their boxing bubble, big fights are supposed to be BIG fights and all that stuff about marketing, mainstream outreach, and good ol’ fashion hype is con man talk. 

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but boxing was built on the backs of con men and con men still, for the most part, run the sport. The only problem is that boxing’s con men just aren’t that good anymore.

What these Misfits, Jake Paul, and other celebrity boxing promotions get right is what “real” boxing continuously gets wrong. You’re supposed to get as many people as possible to care about your show. You’re supposed to reach possible consumers who never imagined themselves as consumers until they heard about your show. You don’t shut yourselves off from the world and look down on outsiders (i.e. “casuals”)

With direct access to millions/billions via social media, boxing promoters still barely do more than share fight posters and the occasional hype video. The recent Misfits show, by contrast, was all over social media, all the time. Without being friends with or following any of the “Misfits” accounts, I couldn’t avoid hearing about the Logan Paul-Dillon Danis drama or some of the other nonsense going on. It was everywhere and on every platform. 

I heard so much about it, so often and for so long, that it kind of piqued my interest. I was interested to watch and see how things played out, not at all expecting high-end boxing skills or, really, even caring about watching high-end boxing skills. 

If that’s not the definition of quality promotion, I don’t know what is. 

Boxing could learn a lot from what these outsiders are doing. The quality of the fighting and the “realness” of the sporting product is another issue, but one which is altogether separate from the promotion side of things. 

I’m not suggesting that boxing go as low as some of those promotions go-- no Regis Prograis throwing pork at the Muslim Devin Haney, for example. But the sport could do a hell of a lot better than it does right now at stoking the fires of social media. 

Better promotion= More Money= Fans getting more of the fights they want.

It’s okay for us to take in an “inferior” product, learn from the good and spit out the bad. Actually, that’s the only common sense approach when “inferior” is often outdoing our “superior.” But, yeah, common sense doesn’t tend to be boxing’s strong point.

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