Yes, of course it is a mismatch.
It’s true that Logan Paul, at 6-foot-2 and around 200 pounds, will have some 50 pounds and 6 inches on Floyd Mayweather Jr. when they share a boxing ring on Feb. 20, 2021.
But don’t fear for the safety of Mayweather. He has spent 43 years on this spectacle-spinning planet, while Paul is just 25 years old. Life experience has to count for something, no?
Yeah, I’m making fun of this out-of-left-field event, but isn’t that what these extravaganzas are all about? Fun … and making money. And this one could do serious business, because Mayweather isn’t nicknamed “Money” for nothing. He has been the A-side of the four biggest-selling pay-per-view events in boxing history.
How might boxing benefit? This latest showcase of celebrity fisticuffs could help indoctrinate a new generation into the joys of jabs. On the other hand, it could plunge boxing’s long history of farcical spectacles to a whole new depth of degradation. By drawing the attention of younger social media-savvy consumers, the boxing ring will be cast under the brightest of spotlights. For better or worse.
Here’s what we know and what we still need to learn about this “fight” that everyone will be talking about in February.
What is all the commotion about?
Mayweather vs. Paul, which will take place at a site yet to be revealed, is being billed as a “special exhibition.” Your guess is as good as any about what that entails. Will it look like a boxing match? How many rounds, and how long will they be? What size gloves? How will the wide gap in weight be accounted for? Will an athletic commission be involved? Fanmio Boxing, the company putting on the event, declined to provide details.
How do I watch?
The whole shebang will be available for purchase on pay-per-view. Here, too, the rules are different from a traditional boxing show. Fanmio is an outfit that specializes in online meet-and-greets with celebrities, so those who purchase the PPV will be entered into a drawing for a virtual meet-and-greet with Mayweather and Paul. The first million paying customers will get to watch the exhibition for $24.99. After a million buys, the price will jump to $39.99. Starting Dec. 29, it’ll cost $59.99. And on Feb. 11, the late-to-the-party price will rise to $69.99. Step right up.
Who is Logan Paul?
He’s a social media celebrity, which is to say he’s one of those people who are famous for being famous. Think: a Kardashian in 10-ounce gloves (oh, wait, that’s a thing that actually happened).
How famous is he?
Paul’s YouTube channel has 22.6 million subscribers, who are treated to a steady stream of juvenile, DIY-looking but slickly produced videos — “I spent $150,000 on this Pokeman card,” “I covered myself in peanut butter and went to a dog park,” etc., etc., etc. On Instagram, Paul has 18.7 million followers, and on Twitter he’s at 5.8 million. By contrast, the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world, Terence Crawford, has 645,000 followers on Instagram and 206,000 on Twitter.
But Paul has boxed before, right?
Yes, he has twice boxed another YouTuber, a Brit who goes by the name KSI. Their first meeting was a sloppy amateur bout in Manchester, England, in August 2018 that was scored a majority draw. That meant they had to do it again, and the rematch happened a little over 14 months later — as a sloppy professional boxing match at Staples Center in Los Angeles, sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission. KSI won a split decision.
Didn’t Paul also fight a former NBA player recently, too?
Jake Paul sends Nate Robinson to the canvas before winning by KO in the second round.
No, that was Logan’s younger brother (and fellow YouTuber), Jake Paul. Jake has had two pro fights, both in 2020. The second one, in November, was also at Staples Center, serving as the co-main event of the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. fight card. Paul, 23, fought a former champion — well, a slam dunk champion, anyway. He knocked out ex-NBA star Nate Robinson in two rounds, then called out UFC star Conor McGregor with vile insults against his family.
So both Paul brothers have history with boxing. And Mayweather has a history with spectacle, right?
He sure does. In 2017, he came out of retirement to knock out McGregor, who was making his pro boxing debut. It generated 4.3 million buys, making it the second-biggest boxing PPV in history, behind only 2015’s Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao (4.6 million).
The year after the McGregor bout, Mayweather took part in a boxing exhibition with a 20-year-old Japanese kickboxer named Tenshin Nasukawa, who was 30-0 as a pro in his own sport but had zero experience as a pro boxer. On New Year’s Eve 2018 in Tokyo, under the auspices of MMA promotion Rizin — and with rules that were a mystery practically until the bell rang — Mayweather won by barely-break-a-sweat knockout in Round 1. And reportedly pocketed $9 million.
But at least with the MMA fighter and the kickboxer, Mayweather was picking on someone roughly his own size. In 2008, that was not the case when he stepped in the ring and beat up a man 7 feet tall and 500 pounds. That’s how WWE billed Big Show, who was Floyd’s opponent (and ultimately his brass-knuckles “victim”) at Wrestlemania XXIV.
A year before that, Mayweather’s footwork was put to the test when he appeared on “Dancing with the Stars,” in which he suffered his only career defeat.
Bottom line: Who wins?
Stephen A. Smith voices his preference for Floyd Mayweather Jr. fighting Jake Paul or someone such as Oscar De La Hoya, rather than Logan Paul, in an exhibition.
Mayweather wins. Paul wins. The pay-per-view company wins. Those with disposable income and a love of spectacle, the more absurd the better, might consider themselves winners as well.
Does boxing win? That’s up for debate. Spectacles like this put the sport under the spotlight, but how much of that luster spills over to the legitimate bouts? And not that boxing — or MMA, for that matter — is an exemplar of good taste, but the Pauls have a history of crass sideshows.
Wait, what was that about ‘legitimate bouts’?
Nothing has been announced for Feb. 20 other than Mayweather vs. Paul, but similar spectacles of the past have headlined events also featuring bouts between actual professional boxers, some of them significant.
When Logan Paul had his rematch against KSI at Staples Center in November 2019, for example, there were two world championship fights on the undercard: Billy Joe Saunders defended his WBO super middleweight title and Devin Haney put his WBC lightweight belt on the line.
Mayweather Promotions has a couple of dozen pro fighters on its roster. Don’t be surprised if some of them find their way onto this undercard.
OK, I’m in. What can I expect?
You can expect boxing purists to ridicule you with “Caveat emptor!” and P.T. Barnum quotes. But there’s no denying that if you do fork over your $24.99 or $39.99 or $59.99 or $69.99, you will not be alone. And on fight night, you’ll be part of the biggest trending topic on social media. You might even be entertained.
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