Why is Floyd Mayweather fighting YouTuber Logan Paul?
Floyd Mayweather, named ‘Fighter of the Decade’ for the 2010s by the Boxing Writers Association of America, will face YouTube star Logan Paul in February 2021. It sounds like yet another mind-bending headline of 2020 – but it’s really happening.
On the face of it this decision by Mayweather seems an odd one but not if you’ve tracked the trend since his initial 2015 retirement. The undefeated former champ has taken part in several crossover fights which – while lucrative – also represent a huge opportunity to push brand Mayweather to a whole new fanbase.
McGregor and Nasukawa
The ‘exhibition’ or entertainment side of the sport is nothing new for the man nicknamed ‘Money’ Mayweather.
He’s already come out of retirement in 2017 to defeat UFC star Conor McGregor, which generated a frenzy of hype and hysteria.
It was dubbed ‘The Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History’ that pocketed him a reported $275 million purse. No wonder Mayweather wanted more of it.
He then returned to the ring for a reported $9 million purse in December 2018 to face unbeaten MMA kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in an exhibition in Japan. And after triumphing inside the first round this was a sign of things to come.
The power of YouTube
Even five years ago, the boxing fraternity would have turned their noses up at this but YouTube boxing is now drawing mainstream attention.
It started in February 2018 with an amateur fight between KSI and Joe Weller at the Copper Box Arena in London. The spectacle has grown so huge that KSI was lacing up his gloves for a professional fight with Paul at Los Angeles’ Staples Centre in in November 2019.
The event even had WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders on the undercard.
Paul’s younger brother Jake has also been heavily involved most recently knocking out ex-NBA player Nate Robinson on the Mike Tyson v Roy Jones Jr undercard.
The audience and reach these YouTube personalities drive is a market previously overlooked by boxing aficionados. But with Mayweather retired from the professional game, it’s one he can now be a part of.
What to expect next?
Paul’s taller and heavier frame could provide an awkward style for Mayweather, but ‘Money’ will be a huge favourite come fight night.
There’s no doubting a fight of this magnitude will expose the 43-year-old American to a new generation. It’s no secret Mayweather enjoys the limelight and this could be a way to stay in the public eye with little risk to his sporting legacy.
KSI defeated Paul in LA last year, with the British YouTuber a potential future opponent, if Mayweather is triumphant in February.
This may be an exhibition by name, but the YouTube scene is rising and it could be the future for not just Mayweather but boxing as a whole.