Logan Paul, the YouTuber whose career somehow recovered after a suicide forest stunt, opens his latest YouTube vlog with a telling statement. “A lot of people think this fight is a joke who are not in the YouTube community,” he says. “All jokes aside, this will be the biggest event in the history of the internet.” “Biggest internet event in history,” his younger brother Jake Paul echoes later on.
The two YouTube stars are talking about their upcoming boxing match against their UK counterparts KSI and Deji, a much-hyped event for which ticket sales opened up this morning. For the chance to see two pairs of YouTubers noodle around in a ring, some fans are evidently willing to pay up to $600 a pop. The event will likely be well-attended and rack up millions of views on YouTube. All parties involved are too big to fail. And yet, Logan Paul feels that some people aren’t taking the so-called biggest internet event ever seriously. Why is that?
Let us look past the fact that none of the people involved here are actually fighters, and that any Golden Gloves event is likely to put on a better show. Let’s not consider the fact that KSI’s last match against YouTuber Joe Weller was a terrible bout featuring participants with no finesse or proper form to speak of. Let’s not allow the drawn-out, months-long buildup on YouTube featuring boxing “training” sour us on the duel, either. Let’s not mention that the Paul brothers already have a history of putting on live shows that aren’t entertaining or funny, despite those being their ostensible biggest talents. Put all of that out of your mind, and let’s take the fight at face value.
The Pauls initially blew up on YouTube by releasing awful rap songs that everyone made fun of. As much as they boast about their Instagram-worthy life, the Pauls have more in common with Rebecca Black than Jay Z. Never mind that since then, the pair have become infamous for being assholes; Logan and Jake Paul might have legions of teenage fans, they might be famous and rich, but they’ve never been cool. Even big YouTubers, who tend to stick together with other video creators, regularly roast the Paul brothers. Half the people who will tune into the match will probably be doing so out of morbid curiosity. People want to see Logan Paul get punched in the face after he had the audacity to film a dead body and tastelessly upload it to YouTube. People want to see Jake Paul get punched in the face after he was crowned “worst person on earth” for being an awful neighbor. People want to watch the Paul brothers get punched in the face because they’re YouTubers who represent everything vapid and horrible about influencer culture.
There will surely be fans who are legitimately cheering them on in the fight, but a significant percentage of onlookers are crossing their fingers that KSI and Deji give the Paul brothers what’s coming to them. People will circulate the fight in the same way they cringe-shared Jake Paul’s song “It’s Every Day Bro.” The Paul Brothers know this. They’re banking on it. Nowhere is this more apparent than the recent press conference held in LA to promote the fight.
The purpose of the showcase was to get people pumped for the match, and so the YouTubers all got on stage to rile each other up, in a pale imitation of WWE Kabuki. At one point, KSI starts yelling, “Fuck the Pauls!” Without missing a beat, the two Paul brothers immediately continue a “Fuck the Pauls!” chant. They know you hate them, they know you don’t take them seriously, and they know you’re going to watch anyway.
The whole conference is legitimately hard to watch; none of the people involved have the sort of charisma you need for kayfabe. Logan Paul repeatedly stomps on a picture of his rival over an excruciatingly stilted ten seconds — excruciating in a way that betrays how forcibly this “beef” has been manufactured for attention. At another point, Logan Paul bizarrely tries to make fun of KSI’s penis by observing, “Looks like you grew a little dick today, but it’s a little one.” It makes zero sense in the moment, but people cheer anyway.
But perhaps the worst part of the conference — and the thing that Logan Paul seems most proud of in his follow-up vlog — is his insistence that KSI and Deji did not dress up for the occasion. While the Paul brothers are both rocking tailored suits and expensive accessories, the UK YouTubers go on stage with hoodies and sweat pants. Immediately, Jake Paul asks Deji, “What the fuck are you wearing? Are those Walmart shoes?” This turns into a catchphrase, and the brothers keep screaming “WAAAAALMART” at KSI and Deji. “Overall, both of their brands are Walmart brands,” Logan Paul says in his vlog about the conference. This comes up multiple times during his analysis of the conference: the Paul brothers are glamorous studs, but KSI and Deji are cheap bums that shop at Walmart.
The kicker? You can buy Logan and Jake Paul merch at Walmart.
The KSI / Deji fight against Logan / Jake Paul is slated for August 25th, 2018, and the YouTubers plan on having one more unbearable conference before the match.
Correction 7:29 PM: We have updated the location of the press conference.