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Mayweather and Paul Go the Distance and Secure the Bag

boxing glove on boxing ring in gym

On Sunday night, the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida hosted one of the most anticipated events of the year for connoisseurs of the bizarre: YouTube star Logan Paul’s boxing exhibition match with the highly decorated retired professional boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather.  Mayweather boasts a professional record of 50-0. He is the only fighter to defeat the four-division champion and current pound-for-pound king Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez.  Paul’s only previous experience in the ring came in two exhibition matches against fellow YouTuber KSI.

Paul’s younger brother Jake has been making a name for himself as a boxing entertainer, knocking out retired NBA player Nate Robinson on the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. exhibition card before moving on to headline his own event against former UFC fighter Ben Askren. His next opponent will be former UFC champion Tyron Woodley. The fight between the elder Paul brother and Mayweather appears to have been organized to promote Jake’s multi-fight deal with Showtime. We have also seen that the retired Mayweather is happy to get back into the ring when there is a promise of easy money, as was the case for his fight with MMA legend Conor McGregor. Sunday’s fight reportedly guaranteed Mayweather at least US$10 million in base pay, plus 50% of pay-per-view shares. Mayweather has speculated that the fight could earn him and Paul upwards of US$100 million.

I like a good shitshow as much as the next person, so I shelled out US$50 like a good sucker and settled in for a fight night opened by former NFL star Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson‘s exhibition match against MMA and bare knuckle boxing fighter Brian Maxwell. This bout proved to be the more entertaining of the two celebrity matches on the card. Johnson and Maxwell were more evenly matched in weight, and Johnson was ready to fight, not just survive against a professional opponent. The match went the distance, although Maxwell scored a knockdown in Round 4.

The next two bouts on the card were sanctioned professional boxing matches featuring fighters signed to Mayweather Promotions. The fight between Luis Arias and Jarrett Hurd featured a bona fide weather delay as rain was blown onto the covered canvas in the open-air venue. The slippery conditions led to a questionable knockdown call for Hurd in Round 9, but Arias clearly outclassed Hurd to notch an upset split decision victory.

Badou Jack earned a technical knockout by knocking down his opponent Dervin Colina for a third time in Round 4. Colina was a late replacement for Jean Pascal after Pascal tested positive for performance-enhancing substances.

After seeing Jack finish Colina, fans were primed for Mayweather to draw blood against the overmatched Paul. They would be severely disappointed. Mayweather spent most of the early rounds dodging out of the reach of his much taller and heavier opponent before finally seeking a finish starting in Round 5. Paul, however, was looking to earn a moral victory by going the distance. He was clearly tired by the late rounds but was able to avoid a stoppage by repeatedly leaning on and hugging the smaller Mayweather. Mayweather was unfazed and seemed to be enjoying himself while committing “legalized bank robbery.”

After the end of the match, ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. asked the remaining fans in attendance for a show of applause in appreciation of the fighters ‘efforts and received no response from the disgruntled crowd.

While the fight has no official winner, Paul’s and Mayweather’s bank accounts surely scored one of the greatest capitalist triumphs of 2021 thanks to the magic of social media. As for me, I am awaiting my email from the Fanmio app inviting me to pay shipping to receive my commemorative t-shirt. However, I’m still debating whether I really want to commemorate such a surreal and ultimately anticlimactic spectacle.

What do you think?

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