Boxing Shouldn’t Be A Vehicle for Social Media Stars
There’s a trend in certain careers for professionals to make a comeback several years or even decades after their last outing. Basketballer Michael Jordan “un-retired” twice during the nineties and early-2000s, while just about every pro wrestler to ever pull on a pair of lycra underpants can usually still be found fighting well into their fifties. In the case of ratings and fan appreciation, these returns can be valuable. Yet, too often, we’re presented with a shadow of a former legend looking for one last payday.
On the face of it, this doesn’t apply to the now-55-year-old Mike Tyson, who still resembles the Iron Mike of old in the ring. Of course, like it or not, he’s still a long way from the man who became the youngest title-winning heavyweight in late 1986. As he’s not stepping into the ring with AJ or Tyson Fury or any of the other modern challengers, though, it’s arguable if that even matters. Mike simply wants one more go-around with the other favorites of his day – and, who wouldn’t?
Fury will instead go up against Dillian Whyte, who skips a match with Otto Wallin due to the latter boxer’s reported shoulder injury. Fury is the natural favorite, at -700 for the victory with William Hill. The website 2 notes that William Hill is one of the top places for sports coverage, and it’s only one of three bookmakers currently offering odds and insight on a Fury vs. Whyte bout.
The Pro vs. The YouTuber
Mike Tyson’s fight with Roy Jones Jr in November 2020 was something that many fans have waited for since Tyson admitted to falling out of love with the sport altogether in 2005, while potential upcoming bouts against Lennox Lewis and old pal Evander Holyfield will serve as a bit of nostalgia for long-time fans. Let’s be honest, though, they’re all looking for one last payday, something that Tyson has been chasing in some form or another since he quit mid-match in 2005 against Irishman Kevin McBride.
Again, what difference does it make? There is one problem, though; the growing sense that anybody with enough money can use former pros and even current champions as a gateway into boxing and further fame.
Mike Tyson is now tipped to fight YouTuber Logan Paul, who “beat” Floyd Mayweather in June 2021 by virtue of the fact that he was able to stand up for eight rounds without falling over. Mayweather clearly wasn’t interested.
That latter fight was later described as between “one of the greatest boxers in history and one of the best YouTube personalities in his family” by the Guardian newspaper, a comment that encapsulates this entire trend.
Tyson Fury had something similar to note, stating that he will disown his brother Tommy if he fails to defeat the other Paul brother, Jake, in a fight due this December. There's nothing wrong with exhibition matches – even the stupid ones, like Butterbean vs. Bart Gunn – but there's a sense of something destructive in how they're currently being booked.
In any case, it’s difficult to see how opening boxing up as a free-for-all for attention-craving amateurs is good for the sport.