Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Logan Paul: Boxing’s bastardization continues apace. It’s hard to tell whether it’s pantomime or a canny marketing ploy as the YouTuber fighter’s brother steals the undefeated professional boxer’s hat and they get into a heated pre-press conference fight.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Logan Paul looks like the ultimate mismatch, but it’s the latest in a number of lucrative exhibition fights featuring non-professional boxers and would seem to be indicative of boxing’s increasing bastardization.
Mayweather is worth hundreds of millions, with an undefeated professional boxing record of 50-0 and multiple world title belts to his name. Paul has no belts to his name, but plenty of YouTube views — almost six billion and counting. His tale of the tape is short; he’s lost his only professional fight against another YouTuber.
Previously, we’ve seen YouTubers fight YouTubers; we’ve seen boxers fight MMA stars; we’ve even seen Paul’s brother Jake — also a famous YouTuber — fight a former MMA fighter and a former NBA player and win both times.
But on June 6, the worlds of professional boxing and entertainment will collide in the ring.
The money men must be rubbing their hands with glee. When Jake Paul stole Mayweather’s hat before his brother’s press conference and the pair got tangled up in a melee, social media and news outlets exploded with videos and pictures of Mayweather looking furious.
And during the final new conference in Miami Beach before Sunday’s fight, Mayweather stressed that Paul’s stepping into the unknown.
“There is a difference between YouTube boxing and elite boxing — you guys will see the difference,” Mayweather told Sky Sports.
“He’s banking on his height, he’s banking on his reach. So we’ll just see. I have a trained a little bit, here and there, not every day. But I don’t have to.” For author and boxing historian Mike Silver, who has been a fan of the sport since 1959 and watched greats such as Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Sugar Ray Robinson in action, the rise of these money-making fights signals to him that the sport he grew up loving is “dead.””Boxing is a business and its business is show business,” said Silver, author of “The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science.” “Boxing is show business. And the only positive thing I can say is that these people make money. I feel like guys, great fighters like Archie Moore, Sugar Ray Robinson, Willie Pep, they must be turning over in their graves.
“[Current fighters] made more in one fight than those fighters, great fighters, made in their entire professional boxing careers.
Exhibition fights are not unusual for boxing. There have been now infamous spectacles. Even the great Ali fought wrestler Antonio Inoki in 1976, an event Silver recalls as being “very disappointing.”
Since Paul and British YouTuber KSI faced off in the first professional boxing match between YouTubers, this offshoot of the fight game has grown rapidly.
According to Jake Paul, his first-round knockout of former UFC fighter Ben Askren in April pulled in 1.5 million pay-per-view buys. And with each one costing $50, the fight generated $75 million, though doubts have been cast over those figures.