Historical story

The story of high-profile boxing matches (from Muhammad Ali to Jake Paul)

On August 29, 2021, YouTuber professional boxer Jake Paul fought mixed martial arts artist and former UFC fighter Tyrone Woodley. At the time, Paul was 3-0 in his pro-boxing career, each victory coming as a knockout. Woodley was a successful UFC fighter; he was once the UFC welterweight champion.

Like the three previous Jake Paul matches, this match was heavily featured due to the bad blood between Paul and Woodley. A war of words broke out between the two warriors:this happened on social media, at press conferences and in an interview with journalist Ariel Helwani. Both warriors expressed dissatisfaction with each other. These verbal clashes only served to advance the fight. Millions bought the pay-per-view show (PPV) to see Paul and Woodley fight. Paul wanted to win a split decision over Woodely. As of now, the number of purchases for Paul and Woodley PPV is still counted, and the event is expected to be the fifth highest set of PPV buyers.

A recent trend

High-profile boxing matches between famous athletes or celebrities have become a new trend. Jake and his brother Logan Paul are two notable examples of non-boxers entering the ring. With YouTuber KSI also put on a pair of clothes to fight Logan in 2018. In 2021, former NFL player Chad Johnson decided to try boxing; he lost by knockout.

But these boxing matches are not a recent invention. High-profile boxing matches have happened throughout history. Even the greatest self-proclaimed of all time, Muhammad Ali, took part in any of these battles. This article will explore the history of high profile boxing matches. Let's first examine what the term "high-profile boxing match" really means.


In this article, a high profile boxing match contains two people who are not boxers. The individuals are typically known for something else; for example, an actor, athlete, YouTuber or influencer on social media. However, the two fighters may be two former boxers or former fighters in a different martial art, such as the UFC. The match must have a remarkable element about it. This can come in a variety of forms:a former champion boxer returning to the ring, a boxer and a mixed martial arts artist who decides to fight each other, or a hot-headed loudmouth YouTuber who opposes everyone. Whatever form it takes, the match should attract a lot of attention from fans and the media. That's why the fight is eagerly watched by millions around the world.

Another element is junk talk; essentially talking negatively about your opponent. Both warriors and their entourage oppose each other to the point where there is mutual hatred. This hatred can be real or just a work of fiction. This bad blood serves a purpose. It helps promote the fight; fans love watching two hated rivals fight each other.

Finally, many of these fights are not officially recognized by established boxing organizations, such as the WBC and WBA. The matches are usually amateur / exhibition matches.

First Matches

High-profile boxing matches date back to the early 20s. They were most popular in the United States, with many fairs. During the 1900s, many states banned professional boxing. As a solution, several professional boxing matches were considered exhibition matches. That's why so many exhibition matches took place during this period.

Many famous boxers of that time participated in show fights. Heavyweight champion Jack Johnson fought many show fights; However, most of these came towards the end of their careers. In his day, Johnson was a major attraction due to the fact that he was the first African-American heavyweight champion. He gained further attention by breaking the racial stereotypes of the day, such as bragging about wealth and dating white women.

Johnson vs. Ketchel

The most remarkable Johnson show fight took place on October 16th, 1909. The heavyweight champion met the middleweight champion Stanley Ketchel. Fans gathered in droves to watch the match. Everyone wanted to see who would win, Johnston at 6 feet 209 pounds or Ketchel at 5 feet 9,160 pounds.

The fight was supposed to be easy, but in the 11th round, Ketchel threw a surprising blow and dropped Johnson to the canvas. Johnson rose angrily and launched a fierce attack on Ketchel. Ketchel was beaten down and calculated. People were shocked that the massive heavyweight was floored by a minor middleweight fighter. Johnson proved that he was the more powerful fighter, but the fact that he was beaten down by the smaller Ketchel held on to the heavyweight champion for many years.


As the 20's developed, show boxing became less common as professional boxing grew in popularity. Exhibition boxing fell largely on retired boxers who had long since left the spotlight. Therefore, these battles rarely drew a significant amount. Everyone who sought the match did so out of curiosity; they wanted to see if the ex-bounty hunter could still hand out punishment. But boxing matches for exhibitions rose again to prominence thanks to one boxer, the self-proclaimed greatest of all time.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali may be the greatest boxer, if not the athlete, in history. As a boxer, Ali used his fast hands and feet along with a solid punch to dominate opponents. In 1964, he shocked the world by defeating heavyweight champion Sony Liston. The hard-hitting Liston was expected to tear down Ali (then known as Cassius Clay), but Ali used his superior hand speed and general agility to defeat Liston.

Outside the ring, Ali's brashness made him a media sensation. He would mouth bad opponents, often in humorous poems he created. Ali became a major cultural icon when he refused to be drafted into the US Army in 1967. At the time, the United States was involved in the Vietnam War. Ali's draft rejection upset large parts of Central America; this demographic meant it was Ali's duty to serve his country, even though it was in the entertainment department. Ali's action inspired many young African Americans to do the same and refuse to be drafted. For his actions, Ali was banned from boxing until 1970, when he was finally recovered. He regained the heavyweight crown in 1974, further cementing the legacy as the greatest of all time.

Ali exhibition matches

With all the fame surrounding Muhammad Ali, there were soon plans for exhibition matches. In 1976, Ali fought Japanese wrestler and martial artist Anotnio Inoki. The fight turned out to be a serious affair with Inoki who constantly kicked Ali's legs. These kicks caused blood clots and infection, which almost resulted in Ali losing his leg. Ali landed only two stings to Inoki. The match was received negatively by the media and fans. Today, many people consider this fight to be very influential when it comes to mixing fighting styles. The fight set the stage for future boxing and martial arts crossover fights.

Ali vs. Alzado

In 1979, Ali joined the fight against NFL player Lyle Alzado, who before playing football competed in the Golden Gloves as an amateur boxer. Visually, the two men contrasted sharply. Ali was still the tall boxer with long range and fast hands, but physically he was past his prime. His once lean and muscular body now looked soft and overweight. Alzado was a muscular man, someone who was built to play in the NFL.

Ali and Alzado boxed in an eight-round fight. Although the exhibition fight was supposed to be for fun, both warriors looked serious. Alzado threw everything at Ali, who largely blocked the shots. Ali thoroughly boxed Alzado; everyone who watched the fight knew who the pro boxer was. The event was a financial disaster. TV rankings were low, with only 15,000 75,000 people filling the stadium with XNUMX XNUMX seats to watch the match.

Andre Ali -exhibition fights

Several other athletes and celebrities boxed Ali in show fights. The famous basketball star Wilt Chamberlin was supposed to fight against Ali, but the negotiations fell through and the match never happened. Puerto Rican Jose Miguel Agrelot rounds out the list of celebrities to fight Ali in a boxing match.

Modern Era

Outside Muhammad Ali, boxing matches at exhibitions fell sharply. One exception was an exhibition event organized by former heavyweight champion George Foreman on April 26, 1975. That evening, the hard-hitting chairman fought five different men, one after the other. While it was sensational, journalists and fans panned the incident largely as a farce.

In the 21st century, exhibition boxing grew in frequency and popularity. In 2006, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson went on a world tour and performed trade shows. However, Tyson had fallen far short of his growth as the worst man on the planet. The trip did not last. Tyson fought only one fight, which was against a former sparring partner and former boxer named Corey "T-Rex" Sanders.

As the 2000s progressed, more and more celebrities tried the box. In 2002, FOX Television launched Celebrity Boxing . Celebrities who experienced a decline in their careers would strike out against each other. Each participant wore protective headgear, and the show matches were planned for 3 rounds. The show was largely rejected, and TV Guide ranked the show sixth on their 50 Worst TV Show of All Time list.

Recent Events

Some of the most famous and successful high-profile boxing matches took place during the 2010s. In 2017, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. agreed to fight UFC fighter Conor Mcgregor in a twelve round professional boxing match. At the time, Mayweather was 49-0 and arguably the best boxer of his generation. McGregor had developed into one of the biggest draws in sports. His cocky, cheeky demeanor and amazing victories made him famous all over the world. Mayweather Jr.'s flashy lifestyle also made him famous.

The interest around McGregor vs. The Mayweather Jr. fight was about whether the mixed martial artist could defeat the boxer:who was the best fighter. An intense press tour followed with both sides talking negatively about each other. The PPV became one of the best-selling shows of all time; Estimates vary around 4.5 million purchases. The event also generated over $ 55 million in ticket sales. Throughout the match, Mayweather Jr. demonstrated. his superior boxing skills, and easily defeated Mcgregor by technical knockout in the 10th round.

Tysons return

Earlier, I noticed that Mike Tyson planned to arrange a show on a boxing tour in 2006. After the venture failed, Tyson withdrew from the sport. After several years of personal struggles, Tyson repeated himself as a new man. In 2020, after several years away from boxing, Tyson revealed he wanted to fight former boxer Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round match. Tyson promoted the match by posting training videos on his Instagram account. Fans noted Tyson's muscular physique in these videos. Even more shocking was that Tyson, at the age of 54, showed exceptional boxing skills.

The event took place on November 28, 2020 in Los Angeles. The match itself was fairly even, and the three referees next to it scored the match a draw. Many disagreed with this score; people claimed Tyson did enough to win.

The match was well received by fans and the media. The event also sold well on PPV, with over $ 80 million in sales.

Mens Tyson vs Jones Jr. was the main event, another famous fighter appeared on the undercard. Except that this young fighter did not start his career as a boxer. This fighter was the controversial Jake Paul.

Brødrene Paul

Jake Paul and his older brother Logan are two popular YouTube. Although they have millions of fans, the brothers have become controversial figures, due to some of their strange actions. An example was Logan who filmed a dead man who had hung himself in Japan's infamous "suicide forest". In 2018, Logan and Jake started their amateur boxing careers. Logan met other YouTubers KSI, while Jake fought against Deji Olatunji, who is a Youtuber and the younger brother of KSI. Logan's match ended in a draw, while Jake won via technical knockout in the fifth round. Logan and KSI wanted to fight for a rematch in 2019. This time KSI won by a split decision. Both incidents received over two million watches along with millions of dollars in revenue.

Other Paul matches

The Paul brothers continued to fight for amateur and professional boxing matches. Ahead of all these battles, Paul countered his opponents and others through their arrogant, cocky antics. This has also made them hate characters, and without a doubt it is a great advertising tool. Millions tun in to the Paul brothers' battles, hoping to see them brutally beaten.

Of the two brothers, Jake has had the most boxing success. He is undefeated with four wins, three come by knockout. On the undercard Tyson vs Jones Jr., Jake beat out former basketball player Nate Robinsion in a fantastic way. In April 2021, Jake shocked the world again by beating former UFC fighter Ben Askren in the first round by technical knockout. These victories show that Jake Paul should be taken seriously as a boxer. He has the skill and power to knock people out. And the man has a great mind to promote his struggles, no matter how controversial his actions may be.

the conclusion

High-profile boxing matches have been a stable part of the sport since the early 1900s. These battles have always been a great money-making scheme for warriors and promoters. At first, these boxing matches were exclusively show matches. The two opponents can be either former or current boxers, or athletes from other sports. Several famous boxers have participated in high-profile show fights:Muhammad Ali, Jack Johnson and Mike Tyson. In recent years, celebrities have put on a pair of gloves and tried a career in boxing. The most notable example is YouTubers Logan and Jake Paul. These two controversial numbers have all shown that they can win matches, as well as attract viewers and generate millions of dollars in revenue.

In 2021, high-profile boxing has become more and more popular. Organizers and warriors now realize that there is money to be made from these events. Therefore, we should see a sharp increase in these boxing matches. For boxing purists, this can seem like a slap in the face to the sport. But they should remember that high-profile boxing events have happened throughout history, even all the way back to the sport's first year.