With YouTuber Jake Paul racking up boxing wins in highly publicized fights, more social media stars are preparing to enter the ring in the near future. What’s causing this sudden influencer boxing boom?
The former Disney star and controversial social media figure certainly played a role in it. He won his third professional fight, which was against retired professional mixed martial artist Ben Askren, on April 17. It took under two minutes.
He’s not the first influencer-turned-boxer, though. Jake can thank YouTuber KSI and Joe Weller for starting the movement, according to USA Today. He has pushed it to the mainstream, though, as his wins have forced sports media to pay attention to him. Well, that and the documentary he’s filming about himself.
“It’s been four months. I’ve been in training camp every day. I deserved that s***. This is the craziest moment of my life,” Jake said on Triller after the fight. “I told y’all I’m a real fighter. I don’t know how many times I’ve got to prove myself this is for real.”
Since then, Jake has received multiple fight requests from other social media stars, like Dillon Danis and FaZe Temperrr. Even Weller suggested he should face off against KSI to bring the trend full circle. Jake’s brother Logan Paul lost his first match to KSI and had an exposition match against Floyd Mayweather postponed indefinitely.
Even outside the realm of the Paul brothers, the influencer boxing trend is going strong.
YouTuber Austin McBroom and TikTok star Bryce Hall are headlining the event, which features a number of social media stars, including Deji, FaZe Jarvis, Michael Le, Nate Wyatt, Tanner Fox and Vinnie Hacker.
Critics had a rather negative reaction to the announcement of the match-up.
“This is a joke right,” one user said.
“This is embarrassing,” YouTuber Trisha Paytas wrote.
“Should I be doing this omg,” influencer Tyler Oakley replied.
Some view this as a way for influencers who are trending downward in popularity to pick themselves back up.
“Everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. Let’s be honest, all the people here are irrelevant and need some sort of pick-me-up because they’re washed out,” one Twitter user assessed.
Michael Ceely, a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of men and athletes, told In The Know that famous men have a tendency toward risk-taking.
“They have learned that being audacious pays off,” he said. “They have programmed themselves to see risks as opportunity … [and] the attention they might garner by fighting an established boxer resonates with that.”
As humor site The Onion satirized back in 2014, the “average male is 4000% less effective in fights than they imagine.” That’s not a real statistic, but it is proof of a long-held belief that some men — especially those with a high level of machismo — consider themselves to be effective fighters.
This may be the case for the boxing revolution, though boxing is a technical sport that requires professionals to tend to years of training.
Ceely said peer pressure might also have something to do with it.
“Psychologically, when we see our peers do something, we automatically consider doing it ourselves,” he explained.
Of course, money also plays a role in the decision to put yourself at risk like this.
According to Jake’s post-fight Instagram, there were a whopping 1.3 million pay-per-views, adding up to $75 million generated.
“The risk of getting hurt in the boxing ring might be worth the financial payoff [to them],” Ceely said.
Guess we’ll see what happens as more and more under-30 stars enter the ring.
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If you found this story interesting, read more about Jake Paul’s controversies.
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