Nine months ago, I wrote an article about Logan Paul vs Floyd Mayweather, a fight that had the entire boxing world up in arms at the time of its announcement. I attempted to comfort those bemoaning the state of boxing and crying out ‘this is killing the sport!’ by reassuring them that these wacky, fun celebrity slopfests were just that, slopfests that had nothing to do with *real* boxing, and therefore they could not hurt *real* boxing. And while I still believe this to be true, I could not have predicted the chokehold that the Paul brothers would have on the combat sports world in 2021. For every article I see about Teofimo Lopez or Ryan Garcia, I see at least ten articles about the latest retired fighter to be called out by Jake Paul. Seriously, it’s every day, bro… (I apologise).
Saturday night handed us perhaps the grossest serving of slop so far, as a nearly 60-year-old Evander Holyfield fell to the canvas and lost inside round one at the hands of a 44-year-old Vitor Belfort. It was sad, dangerous, unethical, and it was a stark reminder of the dangers of wheeling out these beloved, ageing legends all in the name of a quick cash-grab. They can put lipstick on a pig all they want, give the boxing product all the glitz and glamour in the world, but between Holyfield getting finished and Donald Trump mispronouncing Anderson Silva’s name, the combat sports world desperately needed a cold shower right after.
Despite the aforementioned chokehold that the Paul brothers have on combat sports and the MMA media (myself included), the writing is on the wall that this trend of celebrity shitshow’s days are numbered. Whether it’s Triller’s shady business practices or the downright disgracefulness of allowing geriatric legends to suffer serious damage, this train is going to come off the tracks someday, and it is going to crash and burn. So while it’s still (sort of) on the tracks, I thought I’d play celebrity matchmaker. I mean, if this nonsense has to dominate our news feeds and boxers and YouTubers are going to continue calling each other out, we may as well make some somewhat entertaining fights for as long as it lasts, right?
Anderson Silva vs Vitor Belfort
This one makes all the sense in the world to me. The two main victors of Saturday night both got it done in quick, easy fashion, and both still seem to have some gas left in the tank. Sure, Vitor probably has some other chemicals in that tank as well, but we’ll let it slide. Silva’s post-MMA foray into the sweet science has been the feel-good career end “The Spider” deserves, and it’s a been a complete joy to watch him outclass Julio Chavez Jr and then completely ice the utter clown that is Tito Ortiz. From his age-defying athleticism, to the the storied history between these two in the octagon, this is a fun, competitive celebrity bout that could go either way. And hey, Vitor doesn’t have to worry about USADA or Silva’s foot in his face, it’s a win-win!
Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury
If you’d told me three years ago that I’d be proposing a boxing match between the YouTuber with ‘the Disney channel flow’ and the runner-up of Love Island, I’d have called you insane. But alas, here we are. Look, Jake Paul is no scrub when it comes to boxing. He’s trained hard, and he’s passed every test he’s put in front of himself. We may not like it, but the man has some talent. That said, he has yet to box an actual boxer. He beats his chest and demands to be considered a legitimate boxer, and yet his record consists of a basketball player, an out-of-shape wrestler, and a former UFC champion who’s been half asleep in every fight since 2018. It’s time for a change.
Enter Tommy Fury: reality-TV star, half-brother of Tyson Fury, and most importantly, an actual boxer! One who isn’t an OAP! This is the fight to make. Jake Paul finally has the chance to gain the legitimacy he craves add an undefeated, actual boxer to his ‘hitlist,’ and Tommy Fury gets to fight someone who a) has name value, b) doesn’t sport a record of 1-9, and c) doesn’t look like they just came from their evening shift at CEX. Both seem serious about advancing in the sport despite their earnings outside of the squared circle, and this match-up is the perfect next step for both of them.
Tito Ortiz vs Ben Askren
This is the bottom of the barrel. The lowest of the low. That donner kebab that’s so greasy and disgusting that the entire bag just turns into a sopping wet mess. It would be the worst fight of all time, and yet I’m kinda here for it. Failed politician Tito Ortiz showcased on Saturday night that he has, in fact, no hands. Meanwhile, Ben Askren’s jab was accurately compared to a clockwork cat in a Chinese restaurant by Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett just days before Jake Paul sent the funky one tumbling to the canvas. People don’t come to these Triller circus events to admire technical prowess and footwork; they come for entertainment. They come for a freakshow. All I’m saying is that this utter disgrace of a boxing match would be a silly, yet harmless few minutes to serve as a co-main for something marginally better to follow (like the previously proposed fights).
Mike Perry vs Logan Paul
Despite being the one that started the trend of YouTube pugilists, Logan Paul hasn’t really shown us much of anything in his short time in the sport. His two bouts with fellow YouTube joker KSI were nothing more than the expected shenanigans, and his June exhibition bout against Floyd Mayweather was simply a dull affair. The pomp and pageantry of Gianni Versace’s mansion did a good job of distracting us from the fact that this fight was always going to be a shower of sh*t. Logan Paul needs a solid win to give himself the ‘credibility’ his brother has garnered, and I for one say that Mike Perry is the way to go.
“Platinum” Mike Perry’s UFC run has hit a serious skid as of late. There really does seem to have been a decline in his skills, offense, and head movement, one that’s resulted in his face getting flatter and flatter every fight. The once bright prospect sadly now seems to be on the wrong side of the hill. That said, I still believe him to be a hard-hitting, talented athlete with a personality tailor-made for promoting a fight. No matter who the opponent is, you just kinda have to tune in to see what the hell Perry will do before, during, or after the fight. For those reasons, I think this is the fight to make. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this fight would be *good*, but it may however be fun. Silly, carnival fun for us to gawk at simply for how absurd it is.
Evander Holyfield vs Nobody
Someone take this old man home, please.