DAZN News looks at everyone from Jose Canseco to Shaquille O’Neal and of course, Jake Paul, who have all tried their hand at the sweet science.
Everywhere you look, there’s an uptick of celebrities boxing regularly now.
Consider this year alone, with Jake Paul’s first-round knockout of Ben Askren in April to be followed by brother Logan Paul challenging Floyd Mayweather Jr. on pay-per-view June 6 and former NBA champion Lamar Odom facing artist Aaron Carter days later on June 12.
While celebrities boxing is becoming the norm these days, it’s not a new phenomenon at all. With Mayweather-Paul just over a week away at this point, DAZN News looks back at six celebrities who have memorably fought in a boxing ring and tried their hand at the sweet science.
When it comes to celebrities boxing, former child actor Bonaduce is one of the original groundbreakers. The former actor on “The Partridge Family” sitcom of the 1970s, Bonaduce would step foot into the boxing ring a few times to throw hands with fellow celebs. His fight against fellow actor Donny Osmond in January 1994 was infamous, as was his tilt against former Major League Baseball slugger Jose Canseco years later in 2009. The former ended with Bonaduce’s hand raised in victory, while the latter wound up in a draw.
The former disgraced figure skater, who was infamous for her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly plotting an attack on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan ahead of the 1994 Olympics, once fought Paula Jones, who was notorious for her sexual harassment lawsuit against former President Bill Clinton. Harding pummeled Jones, who quit in the third round. By the way, the same March 2002 card had former child star Todd Bridges beating the brakes off Vanilla Ice for three rounds.
The former MLB All-Star homerun hitter has become something of a celebrity boxing veteran, having just fought and lost to Barstool Sports’ Billy Football this past February 2021. Years prior, Canseco stepped into the boxing ring for the first time in May 2008, when he fought former NFL kick returner Vai Sikahema in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Despite giving up seven inches to Canseco, Sikahema tapped into his Golden Gloves experience pretty seamlessly by blasting the former MLB slugger out with a first-round KO. That loss wouldn’t thwart Canseco from trying his hand at the sweet science at all, though. He’d return to the ring and fight Bonaduce to a draw in January 2009, before defeating reality TV star Tareq Salahi in November 2011. Jose — you can play baseball, not boxing.
Imagine the sight of 7’1″ and over 300 pounds of Shaquille O’Neal lunging toward you with punches. That was briefly “Sugar” Shane Mosley’s life back in 2010 for O’Neal’s “Shaq vs.” reality show. The television show had the former four-time NBA champion challenging other athletes on their respective fields of play. One episode had O’Neal don the boxing gloves and try to bully Mosley around. The rugged effort almost paid dividends, too, were it not for Mosley, who was roughly half of O’Neal’s weight, peppering Shaq with some stinging right hands. At the final bell, all three judges scored it 48-47 in favor of a unanimous decision nod for Mosley. However, the highlight of the fight will always be the gregarious Shaq dropping to his knees to illustrate the height and size difference and launching a bevy of punches Mosley’s way.
Over on British shores, Flintoff became a household name as one of the star’s of England’s 2005 cricket win over rivals Australia to claim “The Ashes”. When he announced his intention to give boxing a try, the entire nation watched with interest as footage of his training was made into a documentary. His 2012 four-round debut against journeyman Richard Dawson drew as many eyes as the legendary Ricky Hatton’s emotional comeback attempt in the very same building one week prior, and though Flintoff’s clumsy bluster earned him the win on points, he wisely concluded the experiment there.
Look — like him or not, Jake Paul is the most infamous celebrity boxer around. Jake has segued what older brother Logan did in a pair of fights against KSI — fighting him to a majority draw, before losing by split decision — into meme-worthy knockouts that have literally thrown the Internet into a frenzy. Let’s see, there was the YouTuber’s flattening of former three-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion Nate Robinson in November 2020.
The image of Robinson laid out face first will never fade from social media’s stratosphere and will constantly be recalled any time a devastating, lights-out KO occurs. And Jake followed that up this past April by defeating a legitimate mixed martial arts fighter — but not boxer — in Ben Askren. The younger Paul brother detonated an overhand right that dropped Askren with a thud. Although the recently-retired MMA fighter made it up to his feet, the referee determined that he wasn’t in any condition to continue fighting, awarding Jake with the first-round TKO.
Although Logan has scored the biggest boxing fight to date against undefeated legend Mayweather, some would say a Floyd Mayweather-Jake Paul fight is already on deck — especially due to the backlash from Jake swiping the hat off Mayweather’s head and being on the receiving end of a black eye.
Either way, it sure feels like celebrity boxing is here to stay.
Original posted at www.dazn.com