Furious boxing fans have accused Floyd Mayweather of throwing his fight with Logan Paul after footage of the legendary boxer appearing to hold up his opponent – rather than letting him slump to the canvas – emerged.
Mayweather, who could pocket $100m from the bout depending on TV revenues, dominated the contest at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami but was surprisingly unable to stop Paul, with the rookie surviving the full eight rounds of their exhibition bout.
But fight fans – who stumped up £17 each to watch the fight in the UK- have now hit out at Mayweather. They claim the undefeated 44-year-old deliberately stopped Paul from collapsing in order to extend the fight – despite landing a flurry of punches which looked to have ended the YouTuber’s challenge.
The clip during the fight shows an exhausted Paul stepping back towards the ropes, before the social media sensation looked to thrust out a heavy right hand.
Mayweather was able to evade the hook with ease and responded with a blow of his own, crashing into Paul’s head. The 26-year-old then slumped forward towards ‘Money’, who promptly unleashed an uppercut.
The odds were firmly stacked against Paul coming into the clash, and the evening looked to be over for him after he visibly sagged forward on to Mayweather.
Boxing fans have claimed that Logan Paul’s bout with Floyd Mayweather may have been fixed
Footage has now emerged of Paul being caught with a heavy blow and slumping on to his rival
Rookie Paul was able to last the distance against legend Mayweather during their showdown
However, the clip shows Mayweather appearing to use both his arms to hold up his rival, stopping him from falling and preventing the fight from being stopped early.
And after the video surfaced on social media in the hours following the bout, some fans were left questioning whether Paul had indeed been knocked out by the former world champion boxer.
Paul himself joked that Mayweather may have let him ‘survive’.
After the bout, he said: ‘This is still one of the greatest moments of my life… damn, I’m happy. You never know with this guy, I’m going to go home thinking, “Yo, did Floyd let me survive?”.’
Despite Mayweather being widely mocked for his failure to knock out Paul, a host of fans suggested he allowed Paul to go the full eight rounds because it would be better for Showtime’s TV coverage – and their huge pay packets.
Paul slumped forwards onto Mayweather at multiple points during their widely-watched bout
Mayweather had control of the bout and Paul was forced to put his arms around him for respite
After riding out waves of pressure from Mayweather, Paul joked the rival had let him ‘survive’
There were also claims the boxing legend and Paul could have agreed to go the distance in order to ensure neither man was disgraced in the ring and that both left with their reputations – and earning potential – intact.
Both fighters are certain to have taken home millions from the money-spinning encounter, but the exact amounts are not known.
The official figures are typically made public by the sanctioning commission – and for this fight that would be the Florida State Boxing Commission. However, due to the scrap between them being an exhibition, there are no confirmed fees.
Paul and Mayweather have not revealed what they will bank, either.
One person wrote on Twitter: ‘The whole thing is rigged like WWE. It isn’t sport, it’s the equivalent of a soap opera in America. Embarrassing.’
A number of spectators took to social media to share their withering views on the spectacle
Another said: ‘It was nothing but a joke and making a mockery of boxing.’
A third referenced Mayweather’s star-studded bout with MMA big name Conor McGregor from 2017, and said: ‘Same as the McGregor fight. They go a certain distance so none of them are disgraced. It’s obvious.’
‘You could tell he was going out cold by his head movement. It looked like he passed out,’ a fourth believes.
The conspiracy theories continued with another fan joking Mayweather kept Paul up to guarantee a hefty windfall for both men after lasting the distance.
A sixth spectator held a similarly withering opinion, posting: ‘No Logan, no. It’s too early to drop. 100 million for eight rounds remember?’
This was an exhibition – it was always a rigged game
Sportsmail boxing expert DANIEL MATTHEWS writes…
Safe to say I enjoyed my sleep on Sunday night. And nothing I’ve seen since has convinced me it was anything but a wise call to doze, rather than drag myself out of bed for that snooze fest.
Was it a fix? Well that depends on what you thought you were getting. If you were dreaming of a competitive, serious fight then you were always going to be short-changed. The title ‘exhibition’ told you that much.
But more important still: this was Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul. The finest boxer of his generation against a bloke who makes videos. Mayweather could have ended it when and how he wanted. So I guess, in that sense, it was always a rigged game.
And did it make any sense for him to pummel Paul to bits? Probably not. The furious reaction tells you how many people fell for his latest feint. By now, after all the exhibitions and YouTube fights of recent years, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to feel sorry for them.
Enjoy the spectacle? Sure. But to cry foul again? Please.
A funny picture from the fight of the pair grabbing onto each other went viral on social media
One viewer claimed that fans ‘paid to watch two men hugging’ at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami
Fans on social media joked that the pair just hugged for eight rounds in their exhibition bout
The nature of the fight, which saw Paul regularly clinching with Mayweather, was widely mocked on social media.
Fans were quick to take to Twitter to make light of the bout, with one user writing: ‘Hugging. We paid to watch two men hugging. Not boxing.’
Another person mocked the two fighters up as a husband and wife in a wedding photo, while another popular tweet depicted the duo as Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick.
A box of Nappies was also used to mock the bout, with the pair added on the package clinging onto each other. The words ‘little snugglers’ are beside them.
Paul and Mayweather were mocked up by one fan as a loving couple on their wedding day
One Twitter user posted a picture from Spongebob Squarepants to describe the exhibition
Mayweather and Paul grabbing each other during the fight was the target for many viewers
Mayweather (pictured previously) and Paul made millions from their pay-per-view showdown
Some professional fighters also shared their opinions on the bout.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, the reigning WBO, WBC and WBA super-middleweight champion, appeared to have watched the fight and simply posted a facepalm emoji.
WBO super-featherweight kingpin Jamel Herring, meanwhile, has been inspired by the lucrative bout and captioned a comical post on Twitter with, ‘Me looking for a celebrity outside of boxing, to get filthy rich off of…’
Joseph Diaz opted to ignore the furore around the fight itself and focus on Mayweather’s return to boxing. He wrote: ‘Idc (sic) what anyone says, it was an honor watching Floyd in that ring again.’
Trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas labelled the clash as being ‘easy money’, saying: ‘As I said it had to go rounds, made sense. And Floyd was half right, it wasn’t exciting but it was Easy Money.’
But Caleb Truax, the former IBF super-middleweight champion, held the same view as many spectators. He posted on Twitter: ‘That was, quite possibly, the worst “thing” of all time.’
Canelo Alvarez was not impressed by the bout and had posted a facepalm emoji on Twitter
Jamal Herring has joked he is looking for a celebrity outside of boxing to get ‘filthy rich off of’;
American boxer Joseph Diaz chose to focus on Mayweather’s long-awaited return to the ring
Trainer Teddy Atlas said that Mayweather was right about the fight and labelled it ‘easy money’
Caleb Truax held the same view as some fans and said the fight was the worst ‘thing’ of all time
Mayweather and Paul may reportedly lose out on a significant amount of money from the bout, with their pay-per-view earnings at risk of being cut after Showtime’s streaming app crashed.
The fight was aired on the broadcaster’s online platform, but some fight fans in North America aired their frustration after the app crashed, meaning they missed out on the action.
As a result of the outage, the American Television Network have asked fans to go to their website to request a refund. Punters shelled out $49.99 (£35.31) to take in the exhibition and angrily demanded their money back.
It is unclear how many paying customers were affected by the crash, but it could cost Showtime hundreds, if not thousands, if refunds are issued.
The Sun claim this storm may affect what the two fighters receive from their share of the pay-per-view money. Sportsmail has contacted Showtime for comment.
In the UK, the fight cost £16.95 on Sky Sports Box Office.
Showtime are advising fans to visit the website if they want to request a refund after the crash
The Showtime app crashed (as seen above) for North American viewers, leaving them furious
Having admitted his disbelief at the outcome, Paul lavished praise on Mayweather – a stark contrast to the bitter war of words exchanged in the fight’s build-up.
‘He’s one of the GOATs, and in many ways he controls this sport to the tee, that’s what makes him great,’ Paul added. ‘It’s an honour to grace the ring with him.
‘Man, this is the coolest thing ever. I’m happy I made it out. He’s old, but he’s tough to hit.’
Mayweather, meanwhile, has admitted he ‘probably won’t do another exhibition’ after being taken the full distance.
He said: ‘I wanted to give people a show and he was fighting to survive, he was the bigger guy but his background was wrestling so he was good at tying me up.
‘Just going the distance was a win for him. He can grapple and was good at holding. When a guy that size is holding you, it’s hard to get him off you. I had fun, he did too. It was cool.
Mayweather is pictured connecting with Paul again, who was able to continue battling away
Paul stepped back into the ring against Mayweather for just the second time professionally
‘A guy that’s retired, training a few days a week, for me to be retired, be a grandfather and fight a guy in his 20’s. When the money comes, we will see who the winner is.’
Mayweather also admitted Paul was able to put up more of a fight than he had expected, adding: ‘As far as the heavyweights and the big guys, it’s going to be hard, but he’s a tough, rough competitor.
‘It was good action, we had fun. I was surprised by him tonight, good little work. He was better than I thought.
‘He’s a good guy. I had fun. Tonight was a fun night.
‘I fought against a heavyweight but I had fun, even though he didn’t have much experience, he knew how to use his weight and tie me up but I had fun and I’m sure he had fun.’
To celebrate the shock outcome, Paul pulled off a handstand in the ring and was in a fine mood
Mayweather admitted he may not do another exhibition again after being taken the distance