Mayweather vs Paul: Spectacle, not sports
SAN DIEGO, Calif, June 4, 2021 – To buy or not to buy, that is the question. With apologies to Will Shakespeare, he would have loved Logan and Jake Paul, and Floyd Mayweather, too.
Shakespeare was a student of human nature and the human condition. The reason his 400-year-old plays still resonate with audiences is the universal truths they explore about people, which haven’t changed much even as the world has changed around us.
In our role as boxing journalists, we strive to inform the public about significant events, review fights, report on developments in boxing, and introduce the personalities behind the sport. What we also must do is call out hypocrisy and let you know when you’re being bamboozled.
Four years ago, two of the biggest personalities in combat sports, Mayweather and UFC champion Conor “The Notorious” McGregor, met in a sanctioned 12-round boxing match in Las Vegas. Mayweather scored a tenth-round TKO and earned $100 million for his effort. McGregor was guaranteed $30 million but later said he also earned $100 million. These were easily the biggest paychecks of their careers.
At the time, boxing purists were outraged about the event with a PPV price tag of $100. However, 4.3 million buyers disagreed. An estimated three million more streamed the card illegally.
Mayweather announced his retirement after the victory. Lured back by another big payday he openly calls “legalized bank robbery,” Mayweather jumped into the marketplace he helped to generate, taking on YouTube personality Logan Paul in an eight-round exhibition in Miami at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday evening. No judges or scoring. The Showtime PPV fee is a modest $50. Card starts at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Order it here.
At this point, I could dust off my preview column for Mayweather vs McGregor and cut and paste it right here. My view on these events remains the same.
If you’re planning to spend money on this card, you get zero pushback from me. You get to decide how to spend your hard-earned money. My job here is to ensure you are fully informed about what you’re likely to get for your money.
Mayweather vs Paul: Spectacle, not sports
Expect entertainment. Don’t expect anything athletically competitive. These events deliver spectacle, not sports.
Logan Paul has a 0-1 record in sanctioned fights. But the former Disney star and YouTube celebrity’s drawing power is undeniable. In a contest over which man is better at self-promotion, it would be a draw on every judge’s card. Except there are none on Sunday.
Please don’t expect the fight itself to be close. Floyd Mayweather is a boxing genius in the ring, the best of his generation. Yes, perhaps TBE – The Best Ever. He possesses technical skills few other people who have devoted their careers to boxing have been able to duplicate. Only a handful of Mayweather’s 50 professional opponents in the ring have come close to challenging him. Jose Luis Castillo and Marcos Maidana make the shortlist.
Yes, he has been retired for four years. However, Mayweather has remained active as a promoter and hasn’t indulged in bad habits like drinking, smoking, sloth, or gluttony. He weighed a trim 155 pounds on Saturday, just eight pounds over his most competitive weight. Paul weighed 189 pounds. And as the saying goes, Mayweather has forgotten more about boxing than Paul will ever know.
“I look at it as going out, having a good time, and entertaining the people,” said Mayweather this week. “I do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and how I want to do it.
“I say everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. Nobody has to watch. Nobody has to pay. Do whatever makes you feel good. And I’m gonna do whatever makes me feel good,” added Mayweather.
On this, Mayweather is absolutely right. How does a wannabe combat sports performer with minimal training and experience think he’s going to achieve what no one else has accomplished?
Prediction: Four rounds of fun until it’s done
Sure, Paul might outweigh Mayweather by 40 pounds on Sunday. But, as Mayweather pointed out, heavyweights frequently have a similar weight differential. Anthony Joshua defeated Andy Ruiz Jr. in their rematch with ease despite a 46.5 pound difference.
Without any scorecards and no official standing, Mayweather doesn’t have any concern about winning rounds. His awareness is focused on entertainment as much as the outcome. He’s been forthright about not knocking Paul out in the first few rounds even given the chance because fans will feel cheated.
Mayweather and Paul will move around the ring for several rounds. Sure, Paul is a big man. If he dares to be aggressive and rushes Mayweather, there is always the chance for a lucky blow landing. But he’d have to do something unprecedented. Mayweather is a defensive genius. He will evade, avoid, use his speed and timing to make Paul look slow and unskilled.
The more likely scenario is Mayweather making Paul chase him, taunting him into throwing shots, and letting Paul gas out halfway through the fight. At this point, or when Mayweather gets bored and thinks he’s delivered enough entertainment to the fans, he’ll work Paul over with body shots, and then come at him with enough punishment to cause Paul’s corner to call off the fight in an effort to “protect” their fighter. Paul will protest and save face, Mayweather “wins,” and fans feel their money is well spent.
Logan Paul deserves credit for being willing to do something less than 100 other people on planet Earth have done: face Floyd Mayweather in the ring in a professional fight. He’s promised he will use the photo for his social media profile if he gets knocked out. That’s exactly the right attitude. Sports ARE supposed to be fun.
If anyone feels disappointed in this, blame yourself. You were warned. At this point, nothing written here is likely to waive fans off paying for the fight out of curiosity. Enjoy it and have fun while setting your expectations.
Call it entertainment, for sure. Just don’t call it boxing.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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