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Why would anyone think YouTube celebrity Logan Paul has a chance to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Sunday in their exhibition boxing match?
“Ready?" Paul said. “I’m younger, I’m longer, I’m stronger, I’m more powerful than him and I want it more."
The prospect of Paul defeating Mayweather might sound no less outrageous than filming a suicide victim and uploading it onto YouTube, tasering dead rats and proclaiming you’re “going gay” for a month — all of which Paul has done.
But during a recent interview with USA TODAY Sports, he sounded far less outrageous while building a case for his chances against one of the greatest fighters in boxing history. It starts with the tale of the tape.
Age: Paul is 26. Mayweather is 44.
Height: Paul is 6-2. Mayweather is 5-8.
Weight: Paul has fought at 200 pounds – but will face fines if he weighs in at more than 190 pounds. Mayweather regularly fought at 147 pounds – and will face fines if he weighs in at more than 160 pounds.
That means Paul is 18 years younger, 6 inches taller and likely will weigh at least 30 pounds more than Mayweather does when they fight at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins.
“If you took a cruiserweight, a good cruiserweight, and put him in with Floyd Mayweather right now, what do you think would happen?" said Paul, who has fought as a cruiserweight. “You know, there’s weight classes in boxing for a reason."
George Foreman said he needs no convincing.
“I’m not going to say the high percentages are there, but he can beat Mayweather,'' Foreman, the former heavyweight champion, told USA TODAY Sports. "The guy looks physically fit enough to land a good shot against a professional fighter. Mayweather has this fantastic defense, but it doesn’t work well against those real amateurish guys."
Mayweather did not sound concerned during a May 6 news conference to promote his match with the older brother of social media celebrity Jake Paul.
“I don’t have to talk about what I’m going to do,'' Mayweather said. "The world knows what I’m going to do."
There are reasons to believe the eight-round exhibition – available by pay-per-view on Showtime and Fanmio – will be a mismatch of epic proportions:
Mayweather is 50-0, having beaten the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and Manny Pacquiao.
Paul is 0-1, having lost his only professional fight to a fellow YouTuber known as KSI.
But Foreman said anything can happen during an exhibition and unknown fighters can present challenges.
"I spent 30 years in the ring and those guys who come out of nowhere and you let spar with you for a few bucks, the next thing you know your eye is swollen or you're cut,'' he said. "Mayweather can expect to beat good fighters. He goes in with this kind of guy, he can expect probably to get hurt.
“And Mayweather can't help but take him for granted.''
Paul sounded content with that.
“People are so quick to assume that I suck," he said. “Imagine for one second, hypothetically, that over the last year in a half I got really good at the sport."
Paul says that is exactly what has happened while working with his ultra-confident trainer, Milton Lacroix.
“You give me Stevie Wonder and before you know it, in three months, he’ll be boxing, throwing punches like he was a professional fighter," said Lacroix, who trained Shannon Briggs, the former heavyweight world champion.
Although Paul has limited boxing experience, he played football and wrestled in high school.
“I’ve trained a lot of people, and he’s very intelligent, very smart,’’ Lacroix said. “People are going to be surprised that he’s a very good boxer. He became a real fighter."
Training in Puerto Rico, where he lives, Paul said he has shipped in sparring partners “who fight like Floyd, who are Floyd types. Olympians, pros, world champs, everyone."
Yet there is only one Floyd Mayweather.
“And I’m aware of this," Paul said. “So I’m fully planning on going in (the ring) and being not shocked but definitely not used to the skill level that Floyd’s operating at. But then I’m going, to adjust and carry on accordingly.
“Part of the reason I’m going into this fight as confident as I am, it’s because my style is atypical. I’m versatile, I’m elusive, my reflexes are really, really good, I’m fast, I’m strong. And as much as trouble as we have trying find guys who can give me a look like Floyd, I’d be surprised if he’s having an easy time finding someone who can give him a look like me."
Earlier this week, Paul said he was looking to decapitate Mayweather in the first round. But when talking to USA TODAY Sports, he sounded less bombastic.
“I think it’s going to be a dogfight,’’ Paul said. “I think I’m going to make this very hard for Floyd. As we know and have heard of the legend that is Floyd Mayweather, he’s 44 years old and Father Time, I would imagine and bet, has taken its toll on Floyd.
“I’m going to make him dig very, very deep."
Foreman said Paul beating Mayweather would “revolutionize’’ boxing and lead other non-traditional fighters to enter the ring. (Jake Paul, part of that phenomenon, is 3-0 as a pro boxer and has agreed to fight former UFC champion Tyron Woodley.)
Last year Mayweather was voted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and he will be officially inducted in 2022. But a loss Sunday night clearly would tarnish his legacy already targeted by critics.
“And it’d be a damn shame," Hall of Fame trainer Teddy Atlas told USA TODAY Sports. “The real boxing people, that understand what Floyd was, they’ll be pissed at him a little bit. Kind of like they’re pissed at certain baseball players who got caught using steroids.
“They know they were great baseball players. They still know that. But they don’t look like them exactly the same way. I think there might be some of those diehards that’ll say, ‘Yeah, we know Floyd’s great, but being that he played this game and he kind of screwed up and embarrassed us a little bit, well, I’m not going to quite look at him the way I would’ve looked at him.’
“Is that fair? I think that’s fair.”
In his last pro fight, Mayweather beat an MMA fighter, Conor McGregor, to surpass Rocky Marciano's career record of 49-0. The next year, 2018, Mayweather pocketed $9 million for a three-round welterweight boxing exhibition fight with Japanese kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa.
Mayweather knocked out Nasukawa in the first round.
As Mayweather's exhibition match against Paul approached, veteran boxing promoter Lou DiBella refused to entertain what a Paul victory would mean.
“It’s not like a fight where the outcome is in doubt," DiBella said. "What happens in the fight? Whatever Floyd wants to happen."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Logan Paul says he can beat Floyd Mayweather in fight; maybe he can