LOS ANGELES—The six degrees of separation for Shannon Briggs and Logan Paul can be traced back to Paolo Moreno.
Briggs first met Moreno in Los Angeles nearly 24 years ago in Hollywood. They became fast friends that day and even partied together later that evening at a nightclub. They’ve since developed such a friendship that Moreno was Briggs’ best man at the former heavyweight champion’s wedding.
Moreno, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Influencer Studios, manages YouTubers Logan and Jake Paul. Once the brothers decided to take boxing more seriously, as evidenced by Logan’s pro debut versus KSI on Saturday as the main event at Staples Center, Moreno made the inevitable introduction for Briggs to train the content creator.
“I never thought of training Logan Paul, but it’s happening and it’s been a great experience,” Briggs told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “Anyone who says this fight is a diss to boxing are not smart people. It’s great for the sport. It’s phenomenal. They are bringing new fans with kids who have never watched boxing before in their life, and now, they are being introduced to it. It’s a growing thing, and it’s beautiful for the sport.”
“Old-school people not buying it are stuck in old ways,” said Moreno. “They are sick in the head, that’s what it is. We live in a digital, mobile-first, video world. It’s unfortunate if you live in denial. This is the best thing for the sport.”
Briggs, who discovered Badou Jack back in the day, believes the white-collared Paul can cut it in the ring.
“That’s why I train them hard,” said Briggs, still as animated as ever at 47. “The one thing about boxing is that it could be a very humiliating sport, getting knocked out in front of the world. When you lose in other sports, it’s like, ‘you’ll get ‘em next week.’ When you lose in boxing, it could be disrespectful. They don’t want that to happen, and they will do everything in their power to be prepared for that.
“These guys have made money, they’ve had success. Skills pay the bills, be mean, be on point, defense is key, but a mean offense is a better than a defense that sucks. I don’t want them to get hit. They are two pretty men who look good. We want to keep them looking good for the movies. Plus, they are going to be president and have me as the hood director in 2032. We’re the sickest boxing team ever!”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].