Purists can stop reading right now, if they choose, but I am choosing to not summarily dismiss, indulge in some investigation, before deciding whether to choose acceptance, or not….
The Logan Paul-KSI rematch is on, it’s a go, and will screen on DAZN, on Nov. 9.
The two will clash at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, in a fight presented by Eddie Hearn for Matchroom Boxing USA in association with OP Talent.
This is a pro fight, and they will not use headgear, and the tussle is set for six rounds or less, weight specifics to come, they will probably fight at cruiserweight.
Now, crucially, we get to this point. WHO are Logan Paul and KSI?
Good question and likely one that needs Wiki-ing, if you are, say, 30 or under. Maybe 25 and under…
Logan Alexander Paul (born April 1, 1995) is an American internet personality, actor, director and musician. Paul first gained fame through videos shared on former Internet video service Vine, later moving to Facebook and YouTube after the platform’s shutdown. Paul’s television and film work includes guest appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Weird Loners, and roles in films The Thinning and The Space Between Us. He has been the subject of much controversy and legal issues, including an outcry after he filmed a suicide victim and posted the footage on his YouTube channel.
That’s what Wiki says; Paul, an Ohio native, is 24 years old.
Some would describe him as a “YouTuber,” because that is the platform where he is most associated. “Social media entertainer” is what some might call him, if they wanted to gussy it up.
If you watch his video content aka “Vlogs,” you know that he is irreverent at times, likes to push buttons, and has a great sense of what appeals to (some) under 25s. He has earned more than $1 million a month from the eyeballs he grabs on his VLog, for the record.
So, the boxing…where did that come from? Paul was a more than fair athlete in high school, and stays fit. It seems to stem from a rivalry, a turf war. I Wiki-d Paul’s foe, Olajide William “JJ” Olatunji, to get a better sense of the other A sider.
He was “born 19 June 1993, and is better known as KSI, a shortened version of his online alias KSI
Olajide is a British YouTuber, internet personality, actor, rapper, comedian and amateur boxer.
Olatunji’s main YouTube channel has accumulated over four billion video views and twenty million subscribers, making him the 99th most subscribed user on YouTube. Olatunji has also become well known for his music; he released his debut extended play, Keep Up, in 2016, reaching number one on the UK R&B Albums Chart as well as charting in several other countries. After releasing three more extended plays and singles, Olatunji released a collaborative album with Randolph, New Age, in 2019.”
KSI is 26 years old, and based in England. Whereas Paul does the Vlogs and performs some hijinks which are buzz-grabby, KSI started out focusing on video games. He’d made YouTube a home base, but in early 2017, stopped posting there, and started to focus more on his music. And boxing…he started a beef with an ex buddy, Joe Weller, and those two did a white collar fight in February 2018. KSI won in the third round by way of technical knockout. On YouTube, the fight drew 1.6 million live viewers, and snagged 21 million views within a day, and over 25 million over the next few days, becoming the biggest white-collar boxing fight in history, it is alleged. That, right there, is the key. Those eyeballs! Oh, and after his win, KSI called out Logan Paul, and his brother Jake Paul, also an internet standout.
You may not know of this, but millions upon millions of other do and did; on Aug. 25, 2018, Jake fought KSI’s bro Deji, and Logan Paul battled KSI.
Manchester Arena in Manchester, England was sold out, 21,000 were on hand, and the promotion did 1 million live pay-per-view buys on YouTube. The main event fight ended in a majority draw, as KSI won on one card with two judges scoring it even.
They are what they are, many of you might not understand what the Logan Paul-KSI rematch fuss is all about, and you might think these two are famous for being famous, and part of what the Kardashians started. That could all be debated, but can we agree they have some savvy? Paul and KSI hashed out a two fight deal, which brings us to the present…
They have over 40 million YouTube subscribers between them, and promoter Eddie Hearn also is no fool. He’s willing to risk the backlash of purists, in the hope of bringing new eyeballs to boxing.
“Finally, after over a year since our rematch, I get to enter the ring once again to fight Logan Paul,” said KSI in a press release. “If I’m being honest, I didn’t fight well at all in the first fight, and even then, I still managed to draw against him. This time I won’t make it so close, especially now that it’s a pro fight, no head guards and 10oz gloves hahahaha, the time to end him is nearing. I can’t wait to see the memes of him slumped on the ground after I’ve repeatedly beaten the life out of him. He’s facing a different animal this time. He will soon realize. Big shoutout to DAZN and Matchroom Boxing USA for hosting a monumental fight that will be in the record books whether people like it or not. November 9 is the day ‘The Nightmare’ becomes his reality.”
“I’m excited to ruin JJs face and I want to thank DAZN for giving me the platform to do so,” said Paul, in the same release. “Last fight, KSI couldn’t beat me with only three months of training under my belt. For the past year, while JJ has been wasting his time trying to become a rapper, I’ve been training every single day. I’m finally getting what I wanted from the beginning – no headgear, 10oz gloves, and the opportunity to dismantle JJ’s repugnant face in Los Angeles, my home city. After November 9, the embarrassment of losing will eat away at KSI’s ego for the next decade; he will be afraid to show face in America. This time, I won’t leave it up to the judges. I’ve been a DAZN fan for a very long time, so it’s an honor to partner with DAZN and Matchroom Boxing USA for what will become the biggest combat sporting event of the year.”
Promoter Hearn admitted he was a skeptic at first. “13 months ago when the first fight took place I smirked and pondered how embarrassing it would be to stage this event in a 20,000 seater arena. What I saw was a phenomenon; a sold out arena, over one million PPV buys but more importantly an energy of a new audience to the sport of boxing. When I was asked to be involved in the rematch it got me excited but I had some requests to help integrate the two audiences. I requested that both fighters turn professional and undergo the same medicals that any other fighter would. I asked that the fighters lose the headguards and use 10oz gloves, if we are going to do this then let’s do it properly. Both men obliged and now they prepare for war on November 9 – this event will be huge, a World championship card beneath an event that will create a hype for boxing not seen in the US for a long time. Staples Center will be sold out and a new audience will join our great sport and tune in live on DAZN.”
So, some of you are still skeptical. We get it. Here is one point of rebuttal, to one barb I’ve heard being thrown at this promotion. Regarding these two getting pro licenses–just know that every day a person with less skill, and in far worse shape, is getting a license to be fodder on a fight card somewhere soon. So, if you want to, pipe up for those folks, who will get their brain pans rattled for $500 bucks.
My three cents: Purist types will perhaps not be swayed, we get it. But the world will keep spinning and things that younger folks do will continue to puzzle them. They can choose investigation and perhaps some acceptance, or long for the “good old days.” Meanwhile, Hearn is looking for ways to enlarge the overall audience, by bringing a big card to Saudi Arabia, and then staging this fight between YouTubers on DAZN, which is a cringe-y move to many, many boxing people. But, if this event grabs half the numbers the first YouTube PPV (it cost $10 in America) did, and X number of those people keep a DAZN subscription, then Hearn will live with the criticism.
Folks, we are a niche sport, so stuff like this will happen, and, arguably, should happen, to spread the word that boxing is cool.