What did you expect?
Knowledgeable boxing fans rolled their eyes when they learned that Floyd Mayweather would face YouTuber Deji Olatunji in an eight-round exhibition Sunday in the United Arab Emirates.
Mayweather demonstrated why that was the case, toying with his ridiculously overmatched foe before stopping him in six rounds.
“These people want to be entertained, and that’s what we gave them,” Mayweather said afterward.
REFEREE WAVES IT OFF!
Was it an early stoppage? 🤔
— Global Titans Fight Series (@GlobalTitansFS) November 13, 2022
Mayweather fought most of the bout with his hands down because he knew Deji couldn’t touch him. He was able to use his reflexes to avoid almost anything coming his way, even at 45.
The Hall of Famer jabbed and moved and played to the crowd in the early rounds, his way of giving the fans in Abu Dhabi some sort of entertainment in lieu of a competitive fight and possibly carrying his opponent intentionally.
Mayweather even had fun between rounds, dancing, hitting the mitts, anything to add to the show.
Deji slipped in a punch here and there, which shouldn’t be surprising. That’s what happens when you stand unguarded in front of anyone, even someone with crude skills.
Then Mayweather decided to lower the boom. He picked up his pace beginning in Round 4, which obviously was part of his plan to stop Deji late in the fight. And that’s what happened.
In the final round he unloaded a series of hard, accurate shots, at least one of which hurt Deji. That was enough for referee Kenny Bayless, who jumped in to save the loser from further punishment.
“I thought it was an early stoppage,” Deji said. “I wanted to carry on. Boxing is boxing. I understand.”
The fans understand, too. The “fight” wasn’t about boxing. It was chance to see an all-time boxing great and a social media star exchange punches for a few rounds in the name of fun.
And, obviously, Mayweather isn’t finished. This was his fourth exhibition, third this year, since he last took part in a sanctioned bout in 2017. He’ll undoubtedly take advantage of his popularity by continuing to face limited opponents like Deji in more exhibitions going forward.
And you can bet he’ll be as dominating as he was on Sunday.