“What’s up, Sports Illustrated?” Floyd Mayweather’s voice boomed and in an instant, one of boxing’s greatest showmen was in character. It’s Thursday afternoon and Mayweather, four years after his last pro fight, was in salesman mode, powering up his latest money-maker: an eight-round exhibition game against YouTube star Logan Paul in Miami on Sunday.
“Sometimes he thinks size wins fights,” Mayweather says of 26-year-old Paul, who will weigh more than 30 pounds more than Mayweather on Sunday. “Or the weight wins the fights. I do not care what anyone else says. A fight wins a fight “
Mayweather is not trying to convince you that this fight will be competitive. Officially, it is not. The Florida State Boxing Commission would not sanction him. There will be a referee, with the power – perhaps duty – to stop the fight. But there are no official judges. If it goes the distance, there will be no official winner.
Mayweather, in fact, is almost telling you that it won’t be. You’ve called the pay-per-view money you’ll earn in “legalized bank robbery.” He has admitted that he only trained every other day. When asked if he could beat Paul with his B game, Mayweather said that his Z game would be enough to win.
“Nobody has to look,” Mayweather said. “Nobody has to pay. Do what makes you feel good. And I’m going to do what makes me feel good. “
Mayweather, however, is betting fans Will look. Because they always have. Mayweather’s place among boxing’s all-time greats is debatable. His status as boxing’s smartest entrepreneur is not. His pay-per-view has brought him more than $ 1 billion in a two-decade professional career. He played the villain flawlessly, attracting so many (paying) customers who wanted to see him lose as much as to see him win. His last fight, against UFC star Conor McGregor, a combat sports veteran with no boxing experience, generated 4.3 million pay-per-view purchases and more than $ 500 million in total revenue.
McGregor, the UFC’s biggest star, represented an opportunity. Paul does too. His YouTube channel has 23.1 million subscribers. He has 19.6 million followers on Instagram and nine million on Twitter. He has a professional fight, in 2019, when he lost to fellow YouTuber KSI. It is hopelessly outmatched. But Mayweather is counting on Paul’s legion of fans spending $ 49.99 for the right to watch him try.
It’s an idea, says Mayweather, that first germinated in 2019, in Los Angeles, when Mayweather met Logan and his brother, fellow YouTuber Jake Paul. “They were both big fans,” says Mayweather. Months later, Logan, through an intermediary, approached Mayweather about a three-round sparring session at Mayweather’s gym. Mayweather said he would, for $ 1.5 million.
“So I said, ‘Well, if you can get me $ 1.5 million like that, and this guy has 18 or 19 million followers and he’s huge on YouTube,’ I said, ‘Well let’s do it like this, let’s take it to the next level.’ “Says Mayweather.” Let’s build this and put it in a football stadium. So we were going to fight at Raider’s stadium. The Nevada commissioner said they didn’t want it. So I said, ‘Okay, let’s get it to Miami.’ Miami He said, ‘Let’s do it.’ So now we’re here. “
Mayweather insists he doesn’t miss boxing. “Absolutely not,” says Mayweather. “I did it all my life. Every time you’ve done something for 40 years and broke all records and dominated in all fields … it is what it is, it’s time to move on to other things in life. “
For Mayweather, this it is forward. This is not boxing. This is an autograph signing. This is capitalizing on your brand against an opponent without the possibility of hurting him. He did so in 2018, when he traveled to Japan and crushed Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in the first round. He made millions beating Nasukawa. Against Paul, he will win millions more. Mayweather says he already made $ 30 million in preparation for the event. He estimates that he will earn between $ 50 million and $ 100 million. for the fight.
“My nickname is ‘Money’ for a reason,” says Mayweather. “I worked very hard for years and years to get to a certain level. A level where we can start calling an entire event. “
Critics ridicule Mayweather-Paul as bad at boxing. But it is not boxing. At 42, Mayweather isn’t planning a comeback. If anything, he intends to stay on the YouTube circuit. If —when— Mayweather breaks up with Logan, a showdown with Jake Paul awaits him. Jake is considered the best boxer of the Paul brothers. He is 3-0, with knockouts over a YouTuber (Ali Eson Gib), a former basketball player (Nate Robinson) and a retired MMA fighter (Ben Askren). Jake Paul recently signed a multi-fight deal with Showtime, the network Mayweather has called home since 2013.
At the press conference to announce Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul, Jake confronted Mayweather, took Mayweather’s hat off, and sparked a brief fight. Video of the altercation, of course, quickly went viral.
If Mayweather – Logan Paul does business, Mayweather vs. Jake Paul could do more. And that’s what Mayweather wants. Easy, low-risk pay days. Big paydays. It is transparent about it. There will be no rematch with Manny Pacquiao. No confrontation with Terence Crawford or Errol Spence. Mayweather is back for shows only.
And he believes that a sizeable audience will be willing to pay to see it.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.