KSI-Logan Paul put on a show for their fans
LOS ANGELES – The KSI-Logan Paul rematch was about what you’d expect from two YouTube stars making their pro debut, which is to say it looked like an average club fight between inexperienced combatants.
It was sloppy. They had nerves to work through during the first half of the six-round cruiserweight bout, and they had fatigue to push past over the second half.
But both men brought their diehard supporters to Staples Center (the announced attendance was 12,137) and those fans created a legitimate big-fight atmosphere inside the arena. It was “lit” (as the kids say). The only difference between KSI-Logan 2 and some of the major championship bouts I’ve witnessed here over the past 19 years was that the crowd was younger and, apart from Justin Bieber, I had no idea who the celebrities in attendance were.
That’s OK. The main event was actually more entertaining than the two world title bouts – Billy Joe Saunders’ 11th-round KO of Marcelo Coceres and Devin Haney’s shutout decision over Alfredo Santiago – that took place on the undercard.
The fans were a big part of that, but KSI (who earned a split decision) and Paul were also part of the equation because they gave their fans something to cheer about. KSI, who won by scores of 57-54 and 56-55, was the aggressor, albeit a one that constantly loaded up with wild haymakers (most of which missed or were blocked by his rival). Paul, who had a 56-55 scorecard in his favor and lost the fight because of a two-point deduction for fouls (holding and hitting, hitting while KSI was down) committed in Round 4, exhibited decent balance and lateral movement. His jab was OK, and he was rather good at blocking shots. The legal uppercut he landed that hurt KSI in Round 4 was pretty sweet.
Both dudes appear to be solid athletes (although it was probably a good idea that VADA testing wasn’t used).
Their first six-rounder was an amateur bout that both admit they weren’t prepared for.
“Last time, I was scared to fight,” KSI said during his post-fight interview on DAZN, which broadcast the bout in the U.S. (it was a pay-per-view in the UK, where KSI hails from). “I was scared to get inside, scared to touch him.
“This time, I fought him, I just kept going. I don’t stop, man, I’m a dog.”
Paul had the better form, but he didn’t take as many risks as his nemesis. “I was more calm this time,” he said after the fight, before squashing his beef with KSI.
“You are one of the toughest people I know. I wish you the best.”
I wish them both the best.
If they fought a third time (which they said they wouldn’t) or decide to box some other YouTube rival down the line, would I bother showing up? Hell no.
Once is enough, but I don’t feel like I wasted my evening covering this show.
KSI and Paul could have settled their beef with an MMA bout, or pro wrestling, or they could have played some video game. But they chose boxing because it’s the oldest, purest sport out there and it’s still very much a part of the cultures of both the UK and America. When it’s at its best nothing beats it.
This bizarre promotion (courtesy of Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA) proved that even when boxing is practiced by amateurish novices, it’s still fun as long as the fans are into it.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.