The fight between one of the greatest boxers in history and one of the best YouTube personalities in his family ended in a predictable fashion on Sunday night as Floyd Mayweather danced around Logan Paul for eight rounds without inflicting any real damage.
The 44-year-old Mayweather retired from professional boxing with a perfect 50 wins from 50 fights but came back to the ring for an eight-round “special exhibition” against Paul, who has found fame as a YouTube personality with 66m social media followers. Mayweather beat the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Álvarez, and Ricky Hatton in a Hall of a Fame boxing career. Paul once got to the fourth week of The Masked Singer.
Mayweather gave up nearly 20 years, four inches in reach and 34lbs to Paul who, at 189lbs, was by far the heaviest fighter he had ever faced. It didn’t matter as a man whose breathtaking reflexes and defensive skills meant even the best boxers in the world could barely lay a glove on him during his pomp handled the slow and clumsy Paul with ease.
In truth, Mayweather could probably have ended the fight if he wanted to, but he knows his audience and, perhaps with an eye on a lucrative rematch, let them have their money’s worth as the fight went the distance.
In the first round, Paul used his weight to manhandle Mayweather and unleashed a flurry of punches but none broke through his opponent’s guard. In the second, he let Paul throw a few jabs but Mayweather, with a half-smile, easily dodged them as the larger man tired himself out. Paul’s biggest mistake may have come in the fourth round when he landed a few blows on Mayweather who attacked for the first time in the fight and continued the onslaught in the fifth. Paul, to his credit, continued to swing hoping a lucky punch would connect but Mayweather was never in serious trouble. By the end of the fight, Paul had landed 28 of his 217 punches, while Mayweather had connected on 43 of his 107. There were no judges and no official winner was declared, although it was pretty clear Mayweather would have won easily if there had been.
The fight ended in boos from the crowd, most of whom had either paid to see a shock or see the often odious Paul get his comeuppance. What they had got was a light sparring session with Mayweather unwilling to risk ruining his flawless record by opening himself up to a lucky punch.
“I had fun, I’m not 21 anymore,” said Mayweather. “He’s a great, young fighter better than I thought he was. He’s a tough raw competitor, I was surprised by him tonight.” Then Mayweather remembered who mattered: “I want to thank all the fans who came out, I want to thank the fans who bought pay per view.”
Mayweather was asked whether there would be another fight. “We don’t know what the future holds, I have to talk to my team,” he said. “I’m not 25 anymore but I had fun.”
Paul, meanwhile, looked like a man who was relieved to still have all his teeth intact while also earning a tidy sum. “It’s one of the greatest moments of my life. I’m happy to have made it out,” he said.
While the athletic credentials of the fight were questionable, the ability of both men to make money is not. Mayweather is estimated to have made $100m alone from his 2017 fight against the UFC star Conor McGregor. Paul, who made his name as a Youtube prankster alongside his brother Jake, is already a multimillionaire at the age of 26 and both he and Mayweather will have made millions more from Sunday’s fight, which sold at $49.99 a pop on pay-per-view and took place in front of an audience of thousands at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium. Mayweather said last week that he expected to earn between $50m and $100m from the fight. Paul was guaranteed $250,000 and a 10% cut of pay-per-view earnings.
The build-up looked the part, even if the fight did not, with hip hop trio Migos performing before the start of the bout and the crowd peppered with stars from the NBA, NFL, and Hollywood. Mayweather was his usual flamboyant self entering the ring in an alligator skin gown. Getting out of it was about as tough as the evening got for the champ.