Paul vs Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather vs. Logan Paul: Is It a Fight? ‘It’s Entertainment’ The bout won’t have an official decision since it’s an exhibition. It might have a knockout. It is certain to deliver an oversized share of frivolity.

The notion of this Sunday’s boxing spectacle between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Logan Paul didn’t begin because there was an obvious title at stake, or as the natural culmination of a long-simmering rivalry, but as an out-of-nowhere suggestion.

Paul and his manager, Jeff Levin, were hanging out in the garage of Paul’s suburban Los Angeles home late last year when Levin asked Paul, a YouTube star, whether he’d like to fight Mayweather, the retired welterweight champion. Paul, whose boxing experience includes two bouts against a fellow YouTuber (one as a pro), figured Levin wasn’t serious. Yet by early December, Levin presented a contract and Paul had a deal to meet Mayweather in a live-streamed sparring session at Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas.

Of course, that agreement wasn’t quite fitting.

It involved Paul, a professional social media self-promoter, who has more than 42 million followers combined on YouTube and Instagram.

It also involved Mayweather, the protagonist in some of the largest-grossing bouts in boxing history. His last bout, against Conor McGregor, drew a reported 4.3 million pay-per-view buys in 2017. Two years earlier, his fight against Manny Pacquiao did 4.6 million buys.

And it is happening in 2021, in an era where high-profile novelty fights involving retired boxers, ball players and social media celebrities have thrust themselves into the sports schedule.

Sunday’s card will feature an undercard bout with the former N.F.L. player Chad Johnson, and the main event pits Mayweather, who has won titles in five weight classes, against Paul, who is 0-1 in sanctioned bouts.

Attracting attention is second nature for Mayweather and Paul. Their exhibition fight, in turn, figures to generate pay-per-view buys for Showtime, which is selling the bout for $49.99.

That bout led to Jake Paul obliterating Ben Askren, a retired mixed martial arts fighter, in the main event of an April Triller card. Jake Paul has since signed a multi-fight deal with Showtime, and he agreed to box the mixed martial arts fighter Tyron Woodley next.

Nonconventional matchups keep forming. The former middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is signed to fight the retired mixed martial arts legend Anderson Silva on June 19, while Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, reportedly vetoed a similar fight between the 40-year-old U.F.C. fighter Georges St-Pierre and the 48-year-old retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya.

This past Thursday, the champion strongman and “Game of Thrones” star Hafthor Bjornsson boxed a four-round exhibition to help prepare for a September fight against fellow strongman Eddie Hall.

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