Celebs and retired fight stars beating the hell out of each other in boxing matches is GOOD for the sport ... so says Nigel Lythgoe, who claims the spectacles are reviving interest in the sweet science in a big way.
The former "American Idol" producer broke it all down for Harvey and Charlie on "TMZ Live" on Tuesday ... explaining the Jake Pauls and the Bryce Halls of the world are breathing life into a sport that he says was struggling.
"[Boxing] needed something," Lythgoe said. "Because mixed martial arts really took over a little bit and we'd lost a lot of heroes like Muhammad Ali."
"We're losing heroes," he added. "So, we've got to find some other way of attracting young people to boxing again."
And, Lythgoe says he's got the perfect formula for that -- by continuing to help grow the celeb boxing game.
Lythgoe is currently producing Triller Fight Club's "Legends II" event ... which will feature an Oscar De La Hoya vs. Vitor Belfort fight, along with a ton of big-time musical performances in the leadup to the Sept. 11 tilt.
Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.
Lythgoe is also in the process of creating a new competition show called "So You Think You Can Fight," which is hoping to ultimately inject even more celebs into the fight game.
"I think it is the way of the future," Lythgoe said of the new-age fight nights. "We've just been to Madison Square Garden with Triller Verzus and that is the Triller Fight Club and Verzuz."
"And, we did a boxing match there followed by a rap battle. And, it sold out the fastest that Madison Square Garden has ever sold. And, it was absolutely packed. So, it just shows you that it's bringing a new form of entertainment together."