The new wave of celebrity crossover boxing will reach a new height Sunday as undefeated former world champion Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. takes on multimedia star Logan Paul in an eight-round exhibition match that will be televised on Showtime pay-per-view. The main card is slated for coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
In the co-main event, former champion Badou Jack faces late replacement Dervin Colina in a 10-round light heavyweight battle. Other fights on the card include Jarret Hurd taking on Luis Aria in a junior middleweight fight and former NFL receiver Chad Johnson squaring off with Brian Maxwell in an exhibition bout.
Mayweather won 15 world titles during a decorated career that has many observers placing him in the conversation for the greatest boxer who ever laced up the gloves. He retired from boxing in 2015 with a perfect 49-0 record, but added one more win to that total with a technical knockout of UFC star Conor McGregor in 2017.
Logan Paul, who along with his brother Jake have become polarizing figures in the combat sports world, dropped his lone professional boxing match to YouTube rival KSI in November 2019. The Paul brothers rose to fame through YouTube and other social-media related content and somehow managed to extend their platform to the boxing ring.
The public appetite for bouts such as Logan Paul vs. Floyd Mayweather, while making many boxing purists cringe, appears to only be escalating, and the Paul brothers are the catalyst of this movement. This exhibition was originally scheduled for earlier this year but was delayed because of logistical obstacles and apparent lack of public interest.
But that all changed in the wake of the hype and subsequent result of the Jake Paul-Ben Askren fight in April as the younger former child star became determined to show observers that he could beat an opponent who had a background in combat sports.
Askren appeared to be a suitable opponent because, although he went 19-2 in MMA and won a Bellator title and shared the UFC cage with killers such as former champion Robbie Lawler, his style was wrestling-based and his stand-up game considered weak. Because of this, Jake Paul was listed as a slight favorite at sportsbooks.
The attention-hungry Askren upheld his reputation as an affable self-promotion machine ahead of the fight and vowed to proudly represent the combat sports establishment by embarrassing Jake Paul. Instead, the former college wrestling standout and Olympian embarrassed himself, as he showed up out of shape and appeared to have little will to compete.
Askren put up little resistance before eating an overhand right that floored him midway through Round 1. He answered the count but didn't appear eager to continue, and the fight was waved off by the referee, sending fans of the Paul brothers into a frenzy.
Jake Paul, 24, has since signed with Showtime to fight former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, whose punching power was his calling card in knocking out Lawler to win the title. Woodley is now 39 and lost his last four UFC bouts before getting cut by the promotion. Even so, his legendary power has knocked out several world-class MMA foes and he uses a striking-based attack.
Curiosity has long swirled around whether Mayweather, whose reputation for boring fights in the latter stages of his career dimmed an otherwise Hall of Fame campaign, would ever compete again. But a large paycheck to face a novice opponent proved too lucrative of a combination to resist, and the former champion will set foot in the ring for the first time in nearly four years.
Logan Paul, 26, is considered a social media influencer who runs a popular podcast called "Impaulsive" and has appeared in a handful of movies. He also was a standout football player and wrestler while growing up in Ohio.
The elder YouTuber interviewed Askren on his podcast ahead of the Jake Paul fight and tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade the curly-haired former cage fighter of his own chances to defeat Mayweather in a boxing match.
The Logan Paul-Floyd Mayweather has been declared an exhibition by state athletic officials, likely because of the size difference between the combatants. Logan Paul has a weight limit of 190, while Mayweather must weigh in at 160 or fewer pounds.
The rest of it looks like standard boxing protocol: Unlike the Roy Jones-Mike Tyson exhibition last year, knockdowns and knockouts are allowed and could determine the outcome. There will be no head gear worn and no official ringside scoring from licensed officials.
There will also be no legal wagering on the fight in the United States because of the lack of sanctioned scoring and the fear of a scripted outcome, which some skeptics suggested might have been in play for the Jake Paul-Askren fight.
So, what are the chances Logan Paul defeats Floyd Mayweather? Slim, of course, but how slim depends on which oddsmaker you talk to. Some betting outlets opened Mayweather as high as -6,000 (wager $6,000 to win $100) when the fight was booked.
Earlier this week, most U.S.-based sportsbooks had Mayweather in the range of -1,300, with Paul offered at underdog boxing odds of about 9/1. All U.S.-based outlets removed the fight from their menu when it was declared an exhibition. Some offshore betting outlets likely will still offer money-line and prop bets on the match.
Even so, the early action suggested heavy play on the underdog and a short memory for the last time we saw a boxing debutant step in the ring with Mayweather. That would be former UFC two-division champion McGregor, who is reputed as one of the pound-for-pound hardest punchers the sport has ever seen. The brash Irishman appeared to adapt well to boxing as he trained for a 12-round fight against Mayweather in August 2017 that ultimately cracked the lid on the public appetite for crossover matches.
McGregor appeared surprisingly competitive for a few rounds before Mayweather turned on the pressure and scored a 10th-round knockout. "Money" might be four years older now and, while Logan Paul is nearly 20 years his junior and 30 pounds heavier, those advantages still shouldn't stop Mayweather from getting what he came for: A lot of money for very little work.
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