On December 31, 2020, Floyd Mayweather Jr. came out of retirement to serve a knockout to the undefeated kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in Japan. The match was the first from Mayweather since he ended his career with a knockout of UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
Since the record-breaking fight night back in 2017, McGregor’s career has continued with ongoing clout and acclaim for the UFC fighter. And it seems that Mayweather is itching to get back in the ring.
His staff confirmed in late December that the undefeated boxer, also known as Money Mayweather or simply Pretty Boy, will face off against Logan Paul on February 20, 2021.
The announcement came as an exciting shock to boxing fans and pundits, who had only one question: who’s Logan Paul?
David Versus Goliath
With 50 wins in 50 matches, Mayweather represents the highest tier of boxing achievement that other athletes strive for. During the 2010s, Mayweather’s momentum was at its height. From boxing pundits to analysts providing odds for sports wagers, few challenged Money Mayweather’s claim to the five weights he competed in.
In fact, his performance in the ring during this time earned him Fighter of the Decade (2010-2020) from the Boxing Writers Association of America. During the same period of time, Logan Paul was busy building a massive following on Vine and YouTube.
In 2013, Paul began to gain followers on both video-sharing platforms for his comedic sketches along with his brother Jake. By 2015, he began a vlog channel on YouTube, which has over 22 million subscribers today for a total of over 5.7 billion views.
Since then, Logan has launched a successful podcast, called Impaulsive, which has nearly three million followers on the associated YouTube channel. Today, his net worth is estimated at $19 million, though Paul is only 25 years old.
In short, Mayweather is the poster boy for ultimate boxing champions, while Paul represents the same for internet personalities. But in the ring, their faceoff is clearly a David versus Goliath showdown, with Mayweather the undoubted favorite.
Paul’s Limited Experience in the Ring
After seeing top fighters like Manny Pacquiao and Conor McGregor lose to Mayweather, a faceoff against an internet personality is viewed as a cash-grab on Mayweather’s part. With only two matches under his belt (one being white collar), Paul is laughably underprepared to face one of the greatest boxers to ever live.
In fact, only the second bout between Paul and fellow YouTube personality, KSI of Britain, was a professional bout—which Paul lost in a split decision in 2019. For reference, his previous unofficial bout saw KSI and Paul tie.
Beyond the gloves and glory, Paul and KSI each took home just under $1 million for their bout. Viewers of the match criticized the refereeing, which saw a few incorrect penalties and false slipping calls. Others found it damaging to the sport that two underwhelming athletes with little training took home more money than undefeated stars, like Billy Joe Saunders.
And then came critiques of the fighting itself. The exhibition match brought in 1.4 million pay-per-view purchases, which made it a worthy production for promoters. However, spectators familiar with the sport were disappointed by the boxing, which looked more like a street fight.
All Press is Good Press
Both KSI and Paul are known for their shameless YouTube channels. Both have been embroiled in numerous scandals for their behavior online. Paul, in particular, has made his name and fortune by being unafraid to throw himself into hot water.
As for Mayweather, the fight seems to have little repercussions aside from topping off his already-staggering bank accounts. For Paul, all press is good press—even if his views stem from a pay-per-view beatdown. As for Mayweather, the flashy YouTube personality is little more than a walking dollar sign.
But there’s nothing wrong with combining sports with entertainment. In the end, consumers who buy into pay-per-view plans also get what they want: a low-stakes match that promises to deliver a win for Mayweather and a loss for Paul.