Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul went eight rounds with each other in an exhibition boxing match Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. No winner was announced. A lot of people who bought the pay-per-view were bitterly angry because there were technical issues that prevented them from seeing it.
Mayweather went long stretches of the fight without throwing a punch. Paul landed but a handful of clean punches on Mayweather, who was one of the great defensive fighters in his day when he racked up a 50-0 record and world titles in five weight classes in a career that spanned from 1996 through 2017.
Paul became famous for posting videos on YouTube.
Ring announcer Jimmy Lennon inadvertently summarized what this was all about when introducing Paul before the fight. Paul, Lennon intoned solemnly, “specializes in wrestling, boxing and anything outrageous.”
And at the end of the day, what this was was an outrageous money grab. It angered many boxing purists, but they got to see an outstanding middleweight fight on the undercard, when Luis Arias outworked Jarrett Hurd and won a split decision.
That bout was everything that Mayweather and Paul was not, but that was to be expected. Anyone over 13 who thought Paul had even a remote chance to defeat Mayweather never saw a real boxing match. As Mayweather told Yahoo Sports before the bout, he expected “a spectacle.”
And while it depends on your definition of spectacle, it wasn’t a total disaster. No one got hurt. No one was forced to buy it. And two boxers made millions. Will Showtime, which invested in this farcical boxing, make a profit? Well, that remains to be seen after the fight’s revenues are counted.
Canelo Alvarez, boxing’s pound-for-pound king who lost to Mayweather in 2013, summarized the feelings of the boxing crowd when he posted a face palm emoji on Twitter.
Mayweather could have ended the fight any time he wanted to, but there was nothing in it for him to do that.
And this keeps alive a chance for him to fight Jake Paul, Logan’s more talented younger brother, down the line.
It was a masterclass, but not in boxing. It was a masterclass in marketing, public relations and salesmanship.
Does it hurt Showtime’s brand? Probably not much, particularly not among the group of fans who appreciate the deep and compelling schedule it has on the docket.
There are only so many fighters that they can pit against the Paul brothers. Once they run out of MMA fighters who will volunteer for a quick couple of million, they’re in trouble. Jake Paul will fight ex-UFC champion Tyron Woodley later this year.
I don’t like it, but if they’re not pitting either of the 190-pound Paul brothers against, oh, the 115-pound Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, we’ll be none the worse for wear.
Mayweather certainly was not. He estimated before the bout he’d make between $50 million and $100 million, not a bad payday for 24 minutes of work.
He beamed a lot during the fight but couldn’t contain the grin afterward. He’d called this fight “legalized bank robbery” beforehand, and the grin probably came when he realized he could buy another mansion or two and a couple of more Ferraris.
“I had fun,” he said. “You’ve got to realize, I’m not 21 any more. It’s good to move around with these young guys. He’s a great young fighter. He was strong as hell.”
Boxing has a long and storied history of its greatest champions fighting exhibitions. Muhammad Ali once faced pro wrestler Antonio Inoki, who crawled around the ring like a crab kicking at him.
By that standard, this was the fight of the year.
Paul had a 34.5 pound weight advantage, a seven-inch height advantage and 18 years in age on Mayweather.
He didn’t embarrass himself by any stretch, but he didn’t look anything close to a professional boxer, either. If you believe he should have, though, you’re missing the point. This was an entertainment event with a couple of boxing matches on it. Mayweather-Paul wasn’t one of them.
Paul understood that and was excited just to finish on his feet. Though he vowed a knockout before the fight, it was clearly just bravado.
“This is one of the greatest moments of my life,” he said. “Damn, I’m happy.”
The people who dropped $50 to see it may not agree, but that’s a story for another time. It could have been a disaster and it wasn’t, and there was a truly great fight on the undercard.
From that standpoint, it was a win for all involved on the business end of the deal.
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