No one is expecting Floyd Mayweather (R) to lose to Logan Paul on Sunday
Credit: JASEN VINLOVE
Floyd Mayweather Jnr has dubbed his fight against YouTube personality Logan Paul in Miami on Sunday “a legalised bank robbery”.
The American, 50-0 undefeated champion in five weight divisions, is guaranteed a minimum of $30 million for the exhibition fight against a novice who has lost his only boxing match.
Little wonder Mayweather runs by the sobriquet of “Money”. When the sums are in from the pay-per-view extravaganza, Mayweather may have earned “between 50 and 100 million” according to the 44-year-old grandfather, who is 18 years older, five inches shorter and 52lb lighter than his opponent.
Paul’s only contest was against another YouTube personality, Olajide Olayinka Williams “JJ” Olatunji, better known to his fans as “KSI”.
Eddie Hearn and Matchroom USA promoted that contest in Los Angeles in November 2019. It seemed a novel idea at the time but the Paul brothers, Logan and Jake, who between them have more than 43 million YouTube subscribers, have leveraged the fight-sport world and are now challenging boxers and mixed martial artists to bouts. Due to their reach, the Paul brothers can guarantee large numbers buying their events, and the money grab continues.
The event is being shown by a major broadcaster of boxing events, Showtime Sports in the USA, and on Sky Box Office in the UK, and highlights the power of YouTube stars.
Contrast that with Josh Taylor’s undisputed super-lightweight contest against American Jose Ramirez for all four world titles two weeks ago, and there was not a major UK broadcaster in sight. Questionable on many levels, yet digital media is increasingly powerful, as are those with huge followings.
YouTuber Logan Paul lost his only previous fight against KSI, also a YouTuber
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
The question is, where will this end?
Former world heavyweight Mike Tyson even chimed in last week, voicing his concern that Mayweather might “kill” his opponent, due to the gulf in ability. Yet Tyson himself fought legend Roy Jones Jr last year, in a throwback fight (combined age 106 years), which drew 1.6 million pay-per-view buys, generating tens of millions of dollars.
Mayweather, the richest boxer in history, who has reportedly earned close to $1 billion, played a part in the development of the “entertainment fight” with the first major boxing/MMA crossover in his 2017 encounter with Conor McGregor, for which he earned a reported $200 million. This will be the least risk, for the most reward, that Mayweather has ever taken in a boxing ring, but it will hardly be an advert for the sport. Win-win financially, but a lose-lose in terms of the boxing purists and his legacy.
“My nickname is ‘Money’ for a reason. I believe in working smarter, not harder. So if it’s something easy like a legalised bank robbery, I’ve got to do it. This kid doesn’t have a chance in hell,” he said.
“Remember, for me, it’s a win-win but I’m in a no-win because if I knock him out fast in the first round, they’re going to be like, ‘Aw man this wasn’t worth it’. If I let it go a few rounds and drag it out, they’re gonna be like, ‘Aw man, he let a YouTuber hang in it for a few rounds’. But, it is what it is. We’re gonna have some fun Sunday.”
The Florida State Boxing Commission will not officially recognise the fight, but a vote will be held by the promoters to choose a winner, if there is no knockout. Perhaps the more pertinent question is whether there are any real winners at all, apart from the protagonists and their bank balances after the freak-show fight.