The time is almost upon us for KSI and Logan Paul to lock horns once again. After a first clash which made the boxing world sit up and take notice, we decided to catch up with Boxing Monthly’s Tom Craze to find out what we should expect ahead of the rematch. If you like what you read and want to know a bit more, be sure to catch Tom’s podcast.
Did you watch the first fight? What did you think?
I did, and I actually watched KSI’s first ‘YouTube Boxing’ contest against a desperately overmatched Joe Weller, too. It was, for a guy in his mid-thirties like me, remarkable viewing: until the odds were posted with the bookies, I’d never heard of either man, let alone tell you why they’re so famous. It’s a totally different world, really, but that they managed to turned their existing fanbase – which, on paper, is as far removed from a traditional boxing audience as it gets – to boxing, of all things, is applaudable. In terms of ability, I felt KSI was the better of the two, but I expect both to have learned plenty in the past 12 months.
You have done some white collar boxing, what’s the difference now that they have turned pro?
The main differences are the smaller glove size and the lack of headguards, mostly notably the former, where even a 2oz drop will be significant. It’s common at white collar level to operate at a reduced round duration – often two minutes, sometimes even one – but their first fight took place over the standard three minutes, so there’ll be no need to adapt there. The same of true of the scheduled six rounds, which again is the same as we saw last year. Another difference would ordinarily be the size of the ring itself. Even a combination of just those three factors makes for an altogether tougher physical challenge than the casual viewer might realise.
The old saying is that you don’t play boxing. Given the tragic events recently, is it wise to hold events such as this?
I think the correlation between fighter ability and fighter safety is probably a flimsy one, as long as they’re in a properly regulated setting. No amount of groundwork can adequately prepare the human brain for the numerous impacts that a boxing match inflicts on it. While it’s fair to say that the best professionals are adept at slipping shots, there are plenty that aren’t. The reduced six-round distance will help in this regard, but the most that can be done is that all pre-fight screenings are completed and a first-class medical team, with all appropriate resources available to them, are on hand at ringside.
The first fight between KSI vs Logan Paul was ridiculed by most of the boxing world but it drew massive numbers both at the event and on PPV. Has the rematch been given more legitimacy this time around?
I don’t believe so. Despite the rematch taking place under the professional code, the industry press have been treating it for what it is: a bit of a novelty. The area where it has been given far more polish is in its promotion and advertising, which is no more you’d expect from the considerable backing of both Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN. Conversely though, I’d imagine it’ll generate a smaller viewership this time around, given the first fight was (a) on YouTube for all, in exchange for a small fee, and (b) in the evening for UK viewers and the afternoon for those in the US. Given that we’re looking at a start time of 3am or so this time around, that’s a big ask for the target market this side of the pond.
This opens up the sport to a new, younger, audience. Will this contest see some of those viewers become fans of the sport?
Frankly, I’d say the impact this will have has been overstated. The audience will be watching specifically to see KSI and Logan Paul throw haymakers at each other. I find it hard to believe they’ll be impressed by Billy Joe Saunders waltzing around an unknown Argentinian, but I hope to be proven wrong.
Given both fighters are now professional, is there a chance either could continue to box after the event?
Both men applied for a professional licence in order to both on a professional show – I get the feeling it was an administrative procedure more than anything else. Neither would be wise to pursue a full-time pro career and, given that they both make millions from posting videos on YouTube, the allure of making a living by being punched in the face by guys vastly more skilled and experienced is probably quite limited.
Finally, who wins?
If they’ve both progressed at the same rate since the first fight, there’s going to be very little in it. Still, Paul has been working with Shannon Briggs in at least some capacity, so let’s say that, together with the tangibles – bigger, younger, and the home fighter – will be enough to see him get the nod after six rounds.
Find out who we are tipping to win, as well as a run down of our tips for the undercard, by clicking here.