From hateful actions at press conferences to unsanctioned brawls and melees in and out of the ring to female fighters flashing their breasts in celebration of wins, the sweet science has increasingly been stained by influencer shenanigans in recent months.

When brothers Logan and Jake Paul along with KSI became the new-age flag bearers of celebrity boxing – or influencer boxing, as it’s been widely coined since – their additions to the sport were met with mixed reviews.

The main argument supporting their involvement was that the social media icons were attracting new audiences to boxing who were younger and digital natives, and perhaps never considered following the sport. 

Sweet science stakeholders took notice, highlighted by DAZN’s five-year deal earlier this year with influencer-centric upstart series Misfits Boxing.

Jake Paul kicked off his career as a side show of sorts in January 2020 fighting YouTuber Ali Eson Gib (AnEsonGib). 

Fast forward three and a half years, and the content creator turned KO artist has shown commitment to the sport and a solid account of himself in the ring, beating the likes of past-their-prime UFC stars Tyron Woodley twice, Anderson Silva, and Ben Askren. 

In his most recent bout versus Tommy Fury – his first against a pro boxer who wasn’t an MMA-focused fighter – Paul dropped Fury but lost a split decision.

Paul (6-1, 4 KOs) will be returning to the ring Saturday to fight MMA legend Nate Diaz (22-13 MMA, 13 Submission, 5 KOs, 4 Decisions) at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. 

In an interview with, Paul commented on the current state of influencer boxing. 

“It's tough because they are not going to listen. I don't think it's my job. Influencers and YouTubers are crazy. It's just tough because we want to create new eyeballs for the sport but don't want it to be a gimmick. Don't be a gimmick. Don't do cringe sh!t and get your skill up. You want to promote yourself, have big fights and make a name for yourself, start in the gym. That's really why people don't realize why I got so big. Yeah, I said a lot of things and I talked a lot of sh!t but if I weren't able to back it up, no one would have cared. When I was knocking people out flat cold, that's what really made me the biggest one in the space. So focus more on your skill level versus doing these crazy PR stunts,” said Paul. 

“I'm not in the YouTube boxing world. That whole like crazy, tag-team style stuff, influencers versus influencers – that was my first fight three and a half years ago. I'm not in that world. My cards are filled with world champions, the best of the best and highest levels of competition. And that's what I think others should do. They should come into the sport – obviously it's cool to fight the influencers – but it's time to take things more seriously. I think that's what's important. I respect the sport of boxing so much too. A lot of the stuff that they are doing ... these girls flashing and taking their tops off in the ring, all of this stuff is a bit too much.”

The 26-year-old Paul also discussed how he’s been preparing for his menacing opponent in Diaz. 

“This camp has been a lot harder and I've had to go to a different place mentally to survive it. But it's made all of the difference in terms of my cardio and now I feel I can fight forever,” said Paul. 

The Paul-Diaz fight will stream stateside on DAZN, ESPN+ and and can be purchased for $59.99. The event is also available internationally via FITE.

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at], or via