The battle of the YouTubers goes the way of the Brit, while Haney and Saunders retain on the undercard
In a grudge rematch highly anticipated in some quarters, Britain’s KSI defeated his US rival Logan Paul in the battle of the YouTubers. With incredible social media followings that significantly eclipse their negligible boxing skills, the two digital-age celebs nonetheless delivered on effort in an entertaining enough six-rounder.
Ultimately, as in their first fight, a white-collar draw in Manchester last year, the bigger Paul had KSI in trouble in the middle rounds, but was unable to stop him. A fourth-round knockdown scored by Paul this time around actually backfired as he was docked the two points he’d just gained because of striking his prone opponent. Buoyed by this lifeline, KSI closed out for a split decision win at LA’s Staples Center. Tallies were 57-54 and 56-55 KSI against a 56-55 in Paul’s favour, in what was the official pro debut for both men.
There was actual world-class boxing on the undercard. Devin Haney made a successful first defence of the WBC lightweight title he never won in the ring, with a wide verdict over Alfredo Santiago of the Dominican Republican. Scored of 120-107 on all cards failed to tell the full story as while Haney’s superior skills kept him well ahead, he was actually pushed hard by a plucky Santiago.
Billy Joe Saunders was tested to an even greater degree. On a bit of an off-night, the WBO super-middleweight champion proved less elusive and accurate than usual. Entering the 11th round, Hatfield’s Saunders held just a two-point lead on two scorecards, and was losing by the same margin on the third, against unbeaten but unheralded Argentine Marcelo Coceres. The big underdog undoubtedly came to win but Saunders, belatedly finding his form, dropped him three times in the 11th to get the KO.