HomeSportsCelebrity boxing is satire with a surprise ending.

Celebrity boxing is satire with a surprise ending.

The combatants circle each other in a hesitant, slightly frightened manner, pawing at the air, loosening their limbs, and sensing the spring and thump of the canvas beneath their feet. It takes them around 15 seconds to become bored and begin to fight.

KSI throws a straight right that eerily resembles a man falling into a bus. FaZe Temperrr answers with a check hook that resembles a person attempting to pick up a cat with one hand. In around a minute, they begin trading, but this description again seems insufficient.

What occurs is that KSI runs at Temperrr swinging his arms frantically, and Temperrr responds by flailing his arms wildly as well – you know, the way any of us would in a comparable scenario – until they become entangled like two abandoned Christmas trees on a Sidcup sidewalk.

Celebrity boxing is satire with a surprise ending.

After some minutes, KSI begins to establish his range, better time his rushes, avoid Temperrr’s long levers and utilize his greater speed in lightning-fast bursts. With less than a minute remaining in the first round, he moves in and delivers a strong right-left combo that penetrates Temperrr’s theoretical defenses and lands flush to the face. As Temperrr’s legs buckle beneath him, approximately 12,000 Wembley Arena spectators cheer and rise to their feet as though this is all real.

And, you know, that may be true. Perhaps the most stunning part of influencer boxing – a relatively new phenomenon in which social media stars slug it out for two minutes in front of quite astounding audience figures – is its eagerness to disguise itself as a “real sport.” There are actual commentators providing commentary on boxing. After his triumph, KSI receives a belt for a completely fictitious championship.

Celebrity boxing is satire with a surprise ending

On social media, followers analyze the battle in minute detail and evaluate KSI’s prospective future opponents. Joe Fournier appears to be an option. Salt Papi has challenged him to a fight. Everyone desires Jake Paul, but no one anticipates it happening for some time.

If you are unfamiliar with the inhabitants of this particular parallel universe, your eyes may have begun to glaze over well before this point. And perhaps the natural response here is to simply tune out, perhaps with a tiny head shake, a silent elegy, and a brusque aside about today’s youth.

Even within the sport, the emergence of the influencers has sparked heated debate, pearl-clutching, and fist-waving, along with images of a dystopian future in which boxing has been completely absorbed by a frivolous celebrity sideshow. In just a few years, influencers have distorted the sport’s economy to the point where KSI and Paul have already earned more in a few fights than, say, Josh Taylor will make in his whole lifetime.

For me, the most intriguing aspect of this is why hundreds of thousands of people are so invested in a product that is mediocre by every objective athletic criterion. And they are truly invested.

YouTube boxing bubble

Last weekend’s bout between KSI and Faze Temperrr drew 300,000 pay-per-view purchases on Dazn, according to some sources. However, as with any large number in boxing, these figures should be treated with a grain of salt. A fight between KSI and Paul would likely shatter all previous records.

According to all accounts, the audience for celebrity boxing is much different from the audience for traditional boxing. In general, they are younger, follow stars rather than the sport itself. And pay little heed to The Ring dynasties or George Plimpton’s literature.

They are probably not going to be at York Hall on Friday evening. Once the YouTube boxing bubble begins to deflate. As virtually every internet trend inevitably does, the influencers will most likely take their following with them.

The second point to make is that there is some irony in the accusations of vulgarity and avarice, of low-quality fights and content for content’s sake, considering that these characteristics have seemingly been sewn into the fabric of boxing for decades.

Muhammad Ali’s unsuccessful 1970s wrestling career

The great conflicts are so infrequently fought, no one truly means what they say, self-interest reigns supreme. And the quality of the product rarely matches the promotional language. In addition, PR stunts and crossover experiments are hardly novel. Remember Muhammad Ali’s unsuccessful 1970s wrestling career?

The grotesquely intriguing emergence of the influencers must be viewed in this context. In a sense, influencer boxing is a form of sporting cosplay: virtually a spoof on boxing itself, arch and knowing and irony-drenched, amplifying its existing traits for effect. They resemble boxers and have the gait and demeanor of boxers.

They engage in trash talk and taunt one another like boxers. The product appears superficially similar to boxing. By the time you comprehend the punchline – they fight like drunks at The Grapes at 1 a.m. You are already in on the joke.

And by any standard, this is indeed an excellent joke. Making a parody of boxing that is so effective and accurate that it has proven more popular than the actual thing. Perhaps it is not a surprise that many YouTube boxers began their careers by filming and posting online pranks. The objective of boxing is to determine why it was so ripe for parody.

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