Celebrity fights like Paul vs Woodley are brutal, primal entertainment… but is it really boxing?

CELEBRITY fighting is back this weekend with a past-it former MMA welterweight taking on a light-heavyweight with a giant social media following.

These freakshow acts should be treated as such, until someone is hurt and the whole sport of boxing has to pay while the circus skips town.

Most people have sod all else to entertain themselves with.

But it categorically is not boxing – they can turn pro, sell out arenas, have bonafide undercards and bulls*** belts on the line.

But Josh Taylor, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, even great British journeymen like Chris Adaway and Lewis van de Poetsch – who have lost hundreds of fights between them – are not in the same sport or business.

These brave men risk life and limb.

And they do so based on talent, having been spotted by a grizzly old coach and then honed their technique in freezing cold, stinking gym.

They have seen their careers almost ruined by dodgy amateur decisions abroad, and tested by the unforgiving politics of the pro game.

That is boxing, that is magnificent, that is why parents who know all the dangers still take their girls and boys along to these glorious old buildings and entrust men – who look like rejects from the armed-and-dangerous wing – to teach them.

Jake Paul, Logan Paul, Tommy Fury, KSI, did some fighting because they were famous, because they knew it would be a fun way to boost their brand.

In the same way Ricky Gervais, Grant Bovey, Freddie Flintoff and Rio Ferdinand did a few years back.

In the playground or street, when someone shouts ‘fight’ only the most pious don’t sprint over to get a peek at the action.

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The same buzz does not happen when a tennis grudge match breaks out over the park or two local enemies go on a really gruelling bike ride.

It’s primal and weird and uncivilised.

But we’re the same oddball species that used to cheer gladiators fighting to the death, or watch bears scrapping.. and we still love to go fishing.

They’re all nonsense mismatches anyway, like Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather.

Logan Paul vs Floyd was a farce, Jake Paul has skittled basketball players and pension claimers half his size.

The true mark of this grubby cash grab game – that the sports broadcasters and a few should-know-better pundits have flogged – is that the one time it threw up a decent 50-50 fight, between Tommy Fury and Jake Paul, the contest died on it’s backside.

Fury pulled out just before the first bonafide act in this pantomime.

Too much Instagram fame and drop-dead-gorgeousness to risk, thousands of pounds in trashy promotion down the drain.

You might try to blame boxing itself.

Big fights like Fury vs Joshua failing to materialise might lead the odd weirdo looking across the boundaries of taste to these car crash PPVs.

But a few high-profile bouts not getting made because of age-old boxing bureaucracy is not the reason these vague curiosities keep occurring.

Who in their right minds wants to watch a 6ft tall 14st 24-year-old fight a 39-year-old bloke who could no longer cut it in his own sport – before he was bunged to switch codes?

Not me. And if you think about it for long enough – sober – neither do you.

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