Skip to main content

Mike Tyson: Boxing was getting beat up by UFC, but is back thanks to YouTube boxers

  • Author:
  • Publish date:
Jake Paul, Mike Tyson

Professional boxing has long been in decline, as mixed martial arts has risen. The reasons include boxing's inability to identify clear champions and make the biggest fights, an ability to harness the social network, and MMA being a more compelling combat sport for the younger generation. However, the biggest show on Saturday night wasn't UFC on ESPN 18, it was a boxing card with Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr as the main event. The pair of legends have a combined age of 105, but the co-main was far odder still - YouTube star Jake Paul vs. 5' 9" NBA dunk champion Nate Robinson.

The boxing event was a success, doubtless helped by the 20+ million subscribers to Paul's YouTube channel. At the post-fight press conference, Tyson gave the social network its due.

"Boxing took a couple of beatings since the UFC has been around," said Tyson accurately. And he offered praise for the much-derided Paul.

"My ego says so many things, but my reality says this, they helped boxing so much," said Tyson. "Boxing owes these guys some kind of... they owe these YouTube boxers some kind of respect.

"They should give these guys some belts because these guys make boxing alive. ... Boxing was pretty much a dying sport. The UFC was kicking our butt. Now we've got these YouTube boxers, with 25 million views. Boxing is going back, thanks to the YouTube boxers."

What do you think UG?

  1. Do you agree with Paul when he said "I might just be the new Floyd [Mayweather Jr]?” Heh.
  2. Has the decline in boxing's popularity been exaggerated, especially among MMA fans?
  3. If the decline is all too real, why? Tyson actually advocated for the endless title fights, as boxers get paid more when a title is on the line. But is that shortsighted?
  4. And did Saturday's event matter? is boxing back (or was it never gone)?

h/t Jeff Cain for Yahoo Sports