Hear that intense rubbing sound and those mega-loud clicking noises? Those are boxing “purists” wringing their hands and clucking their tongues, in unison, hours after the Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul pay-per-view exhibition bout was announced for February 20.
Boxing writers, by nature, are a pompous, self-righteous lot, and they predictably jumped all over this one like, well, boxing writers at a promoter-provided free buffet on fight night. One high-profile scribe lamented weepily that this exhibition “will suck the oxygen out of professional boxing.”
For those who don’t know, Logan Paul is a YouTube personality with more than 50 million followers across multiple social media platforms. He’s also become a “fighting” YouTube personality, taking up boxing to settle a beef with fellow YouTuber KSI in a 2018 exhibition and then, following a disputed draw, carrying over that feud to the pro ranks in 2019, losing via split decision.
And Floyd Mayweather is…Floyd Mayweather.
Okay, admittedly, this is a dumb exhibition and it’ll only be as competitive as Mayweather allows it to be. Despite being inactive for three-and-a-half years, giving up 19 years in age, 6 inches in height, 4 inches in reach, and likely up to 50 lbs. in weight, Logan Paul doesn’t stand any chance. Hell, he’s not even the best Paul brother. Brother, Jake, who recently destroyed retired NBA star Nate Robinson in a his second pro fight, is clearly the more skilled, heavier-handed fighter of the two.
And, yeah, this is an unflinching, unabashedly audacious cash grab that serves no purpose other than to line some pockets.
Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul Negative Impact Overblown
Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul is not going to “hurt” boxing or “suck the life” out of it. It’s merely exploiting the oddly self-destructive state of affairs in which the sport finds itself.
Boxing is part of American culture. As such, the mainstream is predisposed to embracing it. The problem is that the BUSINESS of boxing has been absolutely godawful over the last several decades. With paywalls being erected everywhere and promoters sending their fighters to be walled off behind network exclusivity deals that preclude cross-network contests, it’s become increasingly difficult to make any of the best vs. best fights fans want and even harder to rebuild a dwindling fan base. All of this has resulted in boxing fans having to increasingly pay more and more for less and less.
It’s also resulted in fans losing their interest and walking away from the present tense scene. But boxing, itself, is clearly still in the public consciousness and still has entertainment value for the masses. That’s why boxing is selling– just without the actual boxers.
On November 28, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. fought to an anticlimactic draw on a pay-per-view that reportedly generated 1.2 million buys. It was the biggest-selling boxing pay-per-view since 2018’s Logan Paul-KSI exhibition. This is equal parts sad and outrageous.
“When people ask me, ‘What’s the state of boxing right now?’ That’s where it’s at,” UFC President Dana White recently commented when asked about the Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul announcement. “Didn’t that kid [Logan Paul] get beat up by the f***ing video game kid [KSI] from England and now he’s going to fight Floyd Mayweather?”
The sport’s present day powerbrokers should be worried crap-less about this turn of affairs and more than a bit ashamed. If an old-timers NBA pick-up game or a one-on-one between Michael Jordan and PewDiePi drew 10 times more viewers than Game 7 of the NBA finals, the NBA would be, rightfully, in panic mode. Boxing’s movers and shakers are NOT– and that speaks volumes about how we got where we’re at. Celebrity boxing exhibitions outdrawing the best, most accomplished, elite-level fighters in world title contests by1000% is a major problem.
But none of this is the fault of Mayweather, Paul, or of the scheduled pairing between the two.
Come February 20, Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul will do their thing, put on their show, and collect their paychecks. Boxing will not be one bit damaged. Most of those tuning in will probably leave wondering if there’s much actual, real boxing even going on these days. And, again, that’s the fault of the sport and its self-destructive business model.
Don’t be fooled by the boxing media’s sentiment-heavy criticism. These guys LOVE safe outrage and this particular outrage is about as safe as possible. If they really wanted to help the sport, they’d be taking on the powerful businessmen behind the failing present tense scene rather than perpetually (and pathetically) endeavoring to curry their favor.