Only in boxing can a story making the front page of CNN be a “bad” thing.
And, only in boxing, can a sideshow exhibition be much bigger and more mainstream relevant than what passes for elite-level product.
On Tuesday night, big, mainstream attention was paid when it was announced that the 5-division world champ and first-ballot Hall of Famer Floyd Mayweather would be taking on YouTube personality Logan Paul June 6 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on a pay-per-view telecast distributed via Showtime PPV. No details were given as to weight stipulations– Paul naturally outweighs the welterweight Mayweather by more than 40 lbs.– or number of rounds. Rumors, however, have circulated about Paul having a weight cap at 190 lbs. while Mayweather’s cap would be 160.
“Mayweather Promotions, Fanmio and Showtime Boxing have come together to bring an epic event,” Mayweather posted on his social media accounts.
This event, originally slated for February, was reassambled, presumably, after seeing the success that Paul’s brother Jake recently had with his own sideshow boxing bout against former MMA competitor Ben Askren. According to reports, the Paul-Askren pay-per-view card on Triller generated between 1.3 and 1.5 million buys, outselling other “legit” boxing pay-per-views significantly and becoming the biggest selling boxing event since Floyd Mayweather fought UFC star Conor McGregor back in 2017.
The 44-year-old Mayweather, who has been away from the sport since stopping McGregor four years ago, is the biggest seller in pay-per-view sports. Four of the top five highest grossing events in pay-per-view history– and the top two (vs. Manny Pacquiao and vs. McGregor)– are Mayweather events and this Paul bout (or exhibition), although universally panned by critics already, will likely do huge business as well.
And, speaking of the critics…
Predictably, the boxing “purists” have been up in arms over this pairing since the announcement was made. Boxing fans all over social media have sworn not to buy this card and have railed against it as a stain on the sport. Of course, the same thing happened when Mayweather fought Pacquiao (the critics insisted the bout took too long to make and that Pacquiao was past his prime) and when he fought McGregor.
But in a sport that has been handcuffed by a poor business model and pieced out, sold for scrap to networks with exclusivity deals, who put those parts behind endless paywalls to squeeze money from the existing loyal fans, those fan and media laments should fall on deaf ears.
If anything, the fact that boxing– on some level– can still be appealing to the mainstream has to be seen as a positive. And, hopefully, it’s a wake up call for the bossmen of the sport who have seemingly felt no urgency in giving the fans the fights they want on a consistent basis.
As I wrote at my other gig at FightHype.com:
“It practically makes me giddy when I hear all these “purists” wetting their pants over a fight like this. Mayweather-Paul (or any other exhibition fight or boxing sideshow event for that matter) is just another topping in the buffet dessert area. Put it on your soft serve ice cream, or not. None of this celebrity stuff takes a damn thing away from the sport and, in the long run, it can only add to the mainstream buzz the sport gets as a whole. At worst, these are just fluff entertainment events that come and go with little impact.”
For what it’s worth, the 26-year-old Logan Paul, who has a combined 56 million followers across several media platforms, will come into this bout with about a 19-year age advantage, a 6-inch height advantage, a 4-inch reach advantage, and about a 30 lb. weight advantage– and it won’t mean a damn thing. Mayweather will win…easily…and how easily he wins will depend on how much of show he wants to put on.