If you were an avid sports fan like me on Saturday, there were a ton of options to spend your time. There was the popular option of college football with an always great set of games to watch throughout the day. You had preseason NBA basketball to watch with teams like the Knicks and New Orleans playing. There was even hockey right at the Toscano Family Ice Forum if you were a UConn student.
And then there was the X Series 10, a series of boxing matches that were highlighted by two fights. The first being between Logan Paul and Dillon Danis, while the other two featured KSI and Tommy Fury.
Before I make my point, I do have to start with the positives on this fight. The promotion for both fights was incredible to say the least. While Fury is the only actual boxer with real experience beyond Danis’ MMA experience, the marketing was so incredible for this fight that social media was in a firestorm over the entire event, especially the Danis and Paul matchup. It was indeed so successful that the card sold a reported 1.3 million pay per view buys. That’s something you have to give credit to both Paul and KSI for executing in impressive fashion.
But that’s about it for the positives around both highlight matchups and that finally leads to the main point of this argument. While celebrity boxing matchups like this haven’t been completely unwatchable in the past, including many of Paul’s past matchups, this was, in my eyes, one of the most unwatchable fight cards that I’ve ever laid my eyes upon.
Firstly, I felt like you had to go into this card with the lowest possible expectations. Other than the bare minimum entertainment value, this was not going to be a real boxing match in the slightest for either the KSI or Paul matchup. While both Prime founders have shown that they’ve trained extensively for these fights, the bottom line is that they’re not real boxers. Boxing purists were not going to watch either battle in the ring even if you paid them to.
And even with those expectations, the card managed to still be underwhelming. While Danis had one of the worst performances in a ring that I’ve ever seen, there was no way to expect a performance this low from a former MMA fighter. I could use the word unclassy or downright embarrassing to describe what Danis did in the ring on Saturday, whether it was the overboard trash talking that angered the crowd and audience on TV or trying to imitate MMA moves in the boxing ring.
But, the worst part of it all happened at the end of the boxing match as Danis tried to fight Paul’s entire security crew in an act that looked clearly staged. Ironically, Danis may have thrown more punches at Paul’s bodyguards in a string of a few seconds than the first round of the whole matchup.
However, while the Paul and Danis matchup would be worse than KSI’s bout with Fury, it didn’t make the main fight any better. What fans didn’t expect to see is more hugging than a “Care Bears” episode and a less-than-average performance from Fury, who had the most experience going into the ring on Saturday. Evcn though Fury squeeked out a win via decision, it was not enough to save him from the reality of what had just occurred. Not only did KSI make the matchup incredibly competitive, but there was a great argument for him winning the entire match after Fury hit the popular youtuber early in the fight, losing him a point in the process.
This, combined with the reality that KSI had taken two early rounds, put Fury at an early deficit in a fight that he was heavily favored to win. Instead of viewers expecting a knockout or dominance from Fury at the very least, it became harder to watch by the second.
It felt like such a horrible moment in the history of boxing. To put on weeks of heavy marketing and put out that type of product was truly disappointing and a model of what celebrity boxing shouldn’t look like. If the Paul brothers and any future celebrities vie to put on another event, it simply can’t look anything like what transpired on Oct. 14. I hate to sound like an older person, but it has to get back to what people love about boxing. To have trash talking and elite marketing is completely fine, but if the product in the ring does not reflect any of the work to get up to this point, it’s all for nothing.