It’s hard to look at the last year or so of boxing news and not think that the Paul brothers might have started a trend. After the world watched him clobber ex-NBA player Nate Robinson, there is now a Jake Paul bout scheduled for PPV this April. And Logan Paul has managed to tempt Floyd Mayweather back out of retirement for an exhibition set to occur at some point this year.
There are basically two takes on this kind of activity. One is that the Paul brothers actually know what they’re doing, and that despite their original fame coming via YouTube influencing, they’re at least borderline-professional fighters. The other is that this is all somewhat ridiculous, and that the Paul brothers have simply recognized an opportunity to entertain and make some money (not just for themselves, but for a lot of people).
It’s the latter take that sounds very much like the beginning of a trend. If two YouTubers can draw PPV deals, what’s to stop the powers that be in boxing (or MMA) from roping in more celebrities or fringe athletes to attract attention? It’s likely inevitable at this point, which of course gives rise to the irresistible question of which celebrities might get involved.
There’s no way of knowing who has interest. But based on a combination of appeal, fitness, and in some cases known boxing interest, the following names come to mind as potentially interesting gets for the boxing world….
Nick Jonas (pictured above) simply has to top this list, because he’s already been associated with fighting sports. Specifically, Jonas co-starred with Frank Grillo in the DirecTV drama Kingdom, which was largely about MMA. At the time, a piece by Vanity Fair detailed the dramatic transformation Jonas went through to turn himself from boy-band heartthrob into a convincing MMA fighter. Whether or not he’s maintained the interest is tough to say, but we know that Jonas got very into MMA once. There’s no doubt he could do it again and likely bring about some major PPV events in the process.
Given the example set by the Paul brothers, it’s fair to wonder if the celebrities best suited for boxing or MMA events might be those who are almost famous for being famous. That’s not meant to belittle Kevin Hart’s talent or career whatsoever. He’s a terrific comic and an accomplished actor. But he’s also very much a famous person who simply seems magnetically attracted to the spotlight. He’s always popping up here or there, which indicates that perhaps he’d at least entertain the idea of an exhibition fight. Hart is also known for strong dedication to fitness, so it stands to reason that he could buckle down and train for a fight if necessary.
Jamie Oliver is perhaps a more random selection, but for a more light-hearted exhibition he actually makes some sense. The celebrity chef has always been a draw simply for his engaging personality, and according to a post on TV guilty pleasures on Gala Bingo, he’s still one of the most popular personalities on TV (at least in the UK). That alone makes this an interesting idea from a business perspective; Oliver would bring a crowd of viewers with him. But the chef has also been in the news in recent years for working toward a noticeable improvement in fitness, which at least makes one wonder if he’d be interested in training for a public event. It’s a long shot, but the foundation is in place for a Jamie Oliver boxing turn! And it could be against our next suggestion. Imagine that?
Gordon Ramsay is even more of a long shot, and the truth is it’s hard to imagine the volatile-yet-endearing chef risking a punch to the face. He’s nothing if not a man who likes to be in firm control of his own TV presentation. Nevertheless he’s another major personality with a huge fan following, as well as someone known for staying fit (having supposedly been a fairly good soccer player in his prime). He could likely be a respectable boxer, and would undoubtedly be a major draw.
Aside from possibly Nick Jonas, supermodel Gigi Hadid would seem to be the most likely celebrity on our list to follow in the Paul brothers’ footsteps. Like the Pauls, she is essentially a famous influencer, but also one who has gone through the training to become a legitimate boxing force. A profile on Hadid on Insider a few years ago even put forth the claim that she boxes every single day as part of her fitness routine. Frankly, if there’s a suitable opponent for her, we’d love to see what she’s got — and we suspect droves of fans would as well.
Finally there’s Zac Efron.
We don’t know him to be a boxer, but the child star-turned-comic actor is in famously ludicrous shape, and has had a thoroughly unpredictable career. There’s no real, specific reason to predict that he’ll end up in a boxing ring in the coming years. But at the same time, oddly enough, he’d be one of he least surprising celebrity figures to do so.