It is not on social media or at ringside on fight night that you get the most accurate measure of boxing’s popularity and relevance in the real world. In my experience, it is in the changing rooms at Sunday league football where this is evident. Yesterday, I was asked a surprising question by someone in the changing room. They asked if I had to write about the fight last night. Exhausted from playing football, I wasn’t prepared for such a question. I didn’t know how to answer or which fight they were referring to. After some thought, I realized they were referring to the only fight of any real interest to men in changing rooms on Sunday mornings. It wasn’t the niche fights I had earlier written about, but rather a fight that everyone would be aware of and discussing. It relieved me that the person asking the question had some awareness and sensitivity towards the topic.
I then wondered what it would be like to actually watch and write about a fight like KSI vs. Tommy Fury. It seemed like a daunting task, and I assumed the only motivation for doing so would be for monetary reasons. Why put yourself through such an ordeal on a Saturday night when there are so many other things to do? To voluntarily watch a Misfits event seemed remarkable to me. The constant gaslighting and manufactured rivalries can be demoralizing and insulting.
However, I understand that I am the anomaly in this situation. The Misfits audience invests in these characters and sees potential in their promotions. Even experienced journalists recognize the potential for future earnings and play along with the absurdity of it. They know that honesty and integrity no longer pay the bills, so it’s better to go along with it and call it a “bit of fun.”
As the media, we are partly responsible for allowing content creators to determine what is important based on numbers rather than insight or quality. This has led to the rise of products like Misfits that cater to this shift. It not only allows the unathletic to become boxers but also the uneducated to become reporters. Everyone involved in this mirroring is complicit, pretending that what they are doing has value.
In the end, just as we can tell Percy in the home that his room is his old dental surgery, we can tell KSI, Tommy Fury, Logan Paul, and Dillon Danis that they are real boxers. They continue to believe it, and we all play along to make ourselves feel better and make money.