loyd Mayweather and Logan Paul is the latest high-profile celebrity boxing bout to leave fans and legends of the ring questioning whether these exhibitions are having a detrimental impact on the sport.
Mayweather says he has already earned $30million before stepping into the ring, and could easily take home over $50m – and may even push on for nine figures. Paul’s purse will be significantly lower, but he is still expected to take home tens of millions regardless of the result.
Given Mayweather’s perfect 50-0 record, the fight itself is expected to be one-sided despite Paul (0-1) being about 50 pounds (23 kg) heavier, 6 inches (15 cm) taller and 18 years younger than 44-year-old Mayweather, a new grandfather.
But while purists and pros like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez say the trend is simply a dangerous money-grab, some of the sport’s most influential names argue that the rising tide of interest lifts all boats.
Infamous former heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson told Reuters: “I’m a boxing historian.
“Boxing comes from the gutter. So with YouTubers, anything anyone does with gloves on is paying homage to boxing.
“Boxing can’t go any lower than where it started.”
Tyson does not hold out much hope for Paul, predicting: “Floyd is going to kill this guy, man.
“Floyd stays in the gym, he’s never out of shape. He’s going to have so much fun winning this money.”
Mayweather, who is nicknamed “Money,” says he expects to make north of $50m, which will not count against his unblemished professional record. He has called the fight “legalized bank robbery.”
Heavyweight Otto Wallin, who has fought the sport’s biggest names including Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, said boxers working their way through the ranks can learn from what Logan and his fellow YouTuber-turned-boxer brother, Jake Paul (3-0), have accomplished.
“People want to see these guys for a reason and they have big followings,” he told Reuters.
“Boxing-wise, they are not as good as real boxers, but there are people who will pay to see them fight, so I can’t really knock that.”
Tyson recently fought fellow great Roy Jones Jr. to a draw under his “Legends Only” exhibition brand in an event even skeptics had to admit produced an entertaining bout.
“The world is changing. Everything is not going to happen the way it used to happen,” Tyson added.
“The pandemic gave us the opportunity to show the world that. Whatever era it was before this, it’s over. This is a new world and they can’t even comprehend it.
“Isn’t that fun? This is a new world.”
Additional reporting by Reuters.