The two most talked about amateur boxers in the world have decided to turn professional. KSI “The Nightmare” (1-0-1) and Logan “The Maverick” Paul (0-0-1) will face off November 9th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The last time these two faced off it ended in a majority draw. They sold out the Manchester Arena in England and sold over one million PPV’s at $10 a pop.
There was an immediate divide amongst boxing fans once this fight was announced. The purists who want to protect the integrity of the sport (integrity in boxing???). And those who love the idea because of the possibilities it brings. I’m in the latter camp. While trying to make the rematch they reached out to Eddie Hearn and he agreed to help promote it. Even if Hearn told them no, this fight was still going to take place. So why not have a real boxing promoter promote the fight while at the same time bringing in subscribers to DAZN, and bringing more eyes to the sport. There is a lot to criticize Eddie about (I hate the year’s biggest rematch being held in Saudi Arabia). But to criticize him for attempting to convert gamer and blogger fans into boxing fans is a crazy reason to criticize him.
Not only is this great for boxing it’s even better for DAZN. Tens of millions of dollars in potential subscriptions was lost when Canelo Alvarez decided not to fight on Mexican Independence Day weekend. And tens of millions in earned media was lost. This fight will make up for it and more.
Yes, I’m saying this fight is bigger for DAZN than Canelo’s Mexican Independence day fight.
I’ll go a step further and say it’s bigger for DAZN than Canelo vs. GGG III. If you understand social media influencers you’ll understand why I say that. But for those who don’t, let me give you a couple of examples.
Back on July 27, Gervonta “Tank” Davis scored a second round TKO over Ricardo Nunez. It was a standard TKO, nothing spectacular like Wilder vs. Breazeale. But after the fight Davis suddenly became the #1 Trending topic in America. Not just the #1 trending among things chosen for you. But #1 trending in America.
Gervonta’s on again, off again girlfriend is a social media influencer with over 2 million followers on Instagram and over half a million on Twitter. One tweet, SnapChat, or Instagram live video about him from her will send his social media engagement skyrocketing.
Any mention of her by him sends his engagements flying.
Another example. Tommy Fury, younger brother of the lineal Heavyweight champion of the world Tyson Fury.
Tommy holds a professional record of 2-0 with 0 KOs. Tommy is also the most famous Fury Brother in the UK. You know why? Because he was on a highly popular British reality show called Love Island. His Boxrec page was getting more searches than Canelo’s, according to the owner of Boxrec.
Love living in a world where Tommy Fury is getting more Boxrec searches than Canelo
— Woke New York Guardians XFL Historian (@BoxrecGrey) July 9, 2019
I don’t think this will be a regular thing. For those asking “how can boxing capitalize from this”, that’s up to Hearn and the execs at DAZN to figure out. That’s why they’re being paid millions. But what I do know is KSI and Paul will hand them millions of new subscribers and eyes on the platform. Subscribers who are cord cutters and have streamed programming the majority of their life. This is the audience DAZN is targeting. Maybe people will subscribe for one fight and cancel. Isn’t that what the majority of subscribers are already doing for the Canelo fights?
Boxing and boxers can learn a lot about self-promotion from these guys. I don’t have all the answers but I do have some ideas (not for free lol). But if I were a young boxer I would be focusing on building my social media brand across all platforms. Boxing is a business first and foremost, and talent will only get you so far. And in some cases it can be a hindrance if you’re too high risk/low reward. Perfect your craft and build your brand that extends beyond boxing’s “Twitter-verse”. If you can sell tickets and get ratings you’ll always be able to make money in this sport.