Logan Paul freely admits that he thought the idea of fighting Floyd Mayweather was “fucking stupid” when his manager first brought up the possibility last year. After eight rounds, many in attendance at a half-empty Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Sunday realized what Paul had figured out long before they had.
The boxing novice and YouTube star was predictably beaten and outclassed
—the only possible outcome even against a retired boxing legend—but had survived to the final bell. That fact was met by a chorus of boos, which suggests that many who paid to sit through a series of rain storms to see the spectacle hadn’t paid attention to the “exhibition” tag the pay-per-view bout carried.
While it was always expected that Mayweather would be able to do whatever he wanted against the 26-year-old Paul, there was hope that someone would have finally shut his mouth and given his comeuppance. Instead, Paul sat before an overflow room of reporters, wearing a first edition Charizard Pokémon card on a chain around his neck, boasting about how he had lasted eight rounds with Mayweather.
“I knew if it went the distance I won, technically,” said six-foot-two-inch Paul, who was six inches taller than Mayweather, and, at 189.5 pounds, about 35 pounds heavier as well.
Paul then spoke of getting Mayweather with a “good shot” in the first round that “threw him off a little bit.” His younger brother Jake Paul, who employs similarly inflammatory promotional tactics in his pro bouts against athletes from non-boxing sports, stated off-stage that Logan had beaten Mayweather because he “wobbled” the Boxing Hall of Famer in a fashion similar to what Shane Mosley and Marcos Maidana had accomplished in sanctioned fights.
It was an assertion that not even Logan Paul felt comfortable embracing.
What the Paul brothers have done is reveal an uncomfortable truth about boxing: that there is virtually no barrier to entry to the sport. They’ve demonstrated that much of boxing’s matchmaking is the art of smoke and mirrors, and have exploited that to create big events out of performances that have nothing to do with the actual competition of boxing.
Paul hadn’t earned this opportunity with anything he’s done in the ring. He’s had two competitive fights—one amateur and one professional—and both were against a British YouTuber named KSI, who is best known for his work streaming FIFA video games. Logan Paul’s boxing record is 0-1, but his ability to commodify his followers—he has over 23 million just on YouTube—afford him a sort of privilege that few serious fighters can match.
Logan had his highlights early on, taunting Mayweather while landing the stray punch here and there. That all ended the moment Mayweather decided to walk him down behind a high guard and land right hands and left hooks at will.
In many ways, Mayweather was doing to Logan Paul what Jake Paul does to non-boxing athletes in his fights.
Mayweather, who hadn’t been in an American boxing ring since his 2017 drubbing of another boxing upstart named Conor McGregor, described the exhibition as “legalized bank robbery.” The 44-year-old admits he didn’t fight as hard as he could have to produce the knockout that some had wanted to see. And why would he? With no mandate to “win,” he was there to put on a show for the fans, he said.
“I could have pressed real, real hard, threw some crazy combinations, but it was fun,” said Mayweather.
Stephen Espinoza, President of Showtime Sports, which carried the fight on pay-per-view (priced at $50), said he couldn’t offer an estimate for how many units were sold, but described it as “one of Floyd’s bigger events.” He expects the numbers to exceed those done by similar boxing exhibitions featuring boxing legends, which have become popular in the post-pandemic boxing world.
“Is it Mayweather-Pacquiao sort of big? I don’t think so, but is it bigger than anything that we’ve seen comparable in years? Yeah,” said Espinoza.
Mayweather reiterated that he was retired from competitive boxing, and said he might not even perform in further exhibitions, because of how physically taxing a training camp can be.
In the end, Logan Paul may have just pulled off his greatest troll job. He made millions of dollars playing boxing fantasy camp with a five-division champion and got to live to talk about it.