Are circus acts and exhibitions the new driving forces in boxing?
Oh yes, it's Triller.
Triller, my friend, is not a joke.
Jake Paul knocking out a failed UFC battler is not a joke. Mike Tyson dusting off his jockstrap to fight another old man is not a joke;
Floyd Mayweather making 100 million dollars for an exhibition is not a joke.
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This is modern boxing and nobody inside the old, old sport is laughing.
But nobody laughed when Muhammad Ali risked his reputation and had his shins kicked to bits by martial arts genius, Antonio Inoki, in Japan in 1976.
Nobody was laughing when Freddie Flintoff managed to somehow get a real boxing licence and beat a tubby journeyman back in 2012.
Nobody was laughing when Conor McGregor staged a ram-raid on boxing's dignity and survived nearly ten rounds with Floyd Mayweather in 2017.
This is no laughing or joking matter, trust me.
And, the joke really was on the old sport and ways and traditions when Triller, the company connected to the revolution, outbid boxing's traditional power-brokers to win the right to stage Teofimo Lopez's next world title fight.
In March, the right to screen the Lopez and George Kambosos world lightweight title fight was put out to purse bids – this means that any promotional company in the world can bid for the right to stage and screen the fight. It is the simple and established method. The general rule is that the promoters of both fighters bid against each other and the largest bid wins. Easy, well, that is the theory.
Bob Arum has done an incredible job promoting, building, guiding and making Lopez a lot of money. Arum bid a staggering 2.3 million-dollars for the fight. It should have been enough,
Eddie Hearn, who has just started to promote Kambosos, trumped Arum with an amazing bid of 3.5 million-dollars. That is a lot of money for a great, young champion against an unknown Australian. Lopez is one of the finest fighters in the world right now.
However, just as Eddie was celebrating and commiserating with Arum, who is nearly 90, the Triller bid was opened. It was a mind-blowing six million-dollars. It is a figure that makes no sense.
The fight will be on June 5th and Evander Holyfield will be on the undercard in a fight against Ireland's Kevin McBride. The plan is for Holyfield to beat McBride, who in 2005 sent Tyson into retirement, and then set-up a third fight with Tyson. A Tyson and Holyfield third fight might just set financial records. Last November, Tyson met Roy Jones in an exhibition fight on Triller and sold 1.6 million pay-per-views at fifty bucks a pop. It was the sport's best pay-per-view since Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin in 2018.
It appears that the freak fights and crazy match-ups are driving the boxing and not the other way around. So, is that good or bad? Lopez, obviously, thinks it is good. He will walk away with 3.9 million-dollars from the fight – nearly double what his promoter was willing to pay him.
Many boxing purists are alarmed, but criticism of the fights on Triller has so far been guarded.
The recent Jake Paul fiasco against the UFC battler, Ben Askren, reportedly did 175-million-dollars of business for Triller. It is a mad figure if true. Paul is a raw novice, but he is the attraction. There were some brilliant boxers on the bill, but it was Paul and his YouTube status that drove the show. There is a chance that Jake Paul is the most hated sportsman in the world and that suits him fine.
Frank Warren wants to make a fight between Jake and Tommy Fury, the younger brother of heavyweight king, Tyson Fury. Tommy is a legitimate professional, unbeaten in five fights and also a celebrity from his stint on Love Island. It is a blurring of the reality lines that Triller loves. By the way, it would be a great scrap between two novices with heavy fists and not enough defence.
Logan Paul is scheduled to fight Floyd Mayweather in June; it is not on Triller, but it will attract the same crowd. Mayweather will be 100-pounds lighter and make easy and possibly nasty work of it. The converted celebrity-boxers should never fight boxers. Never, it is too dangerous.
There is no end in sight to the revolution – some might say evolution of boxing – at the moment. And, you know what, it's fun. Did I mention that Snoop Dogg is the main commentator on Triller and that he curses the whole way through? It's not for the squeamish, but I still believe it is for boxing fans.