MIAMI BEACH, Florida – Floyd Mayweather realizes this particular spectacle isn’t for everyone.
Naturally, the absurdly wealthy Mayweather hopes millions of casual and hardcore consumers buy his pay-per-view “fight” against wildly popular influencer Logan Paul on Sunday night. The undefeated five-division has been honest, however, about not taking this eight-round exhibition especially seriously, both in and out of the gym.
Mayweather admitted Thursday that he trained only every other day to prepare for an inexperienced opponent that seemingly has no business setting foot in the ring with one of the best boxers to ever lace up a pair of gloves. Even Mayweather hasn’t tried to promote Paul as a legitimate threat in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.
The 44-year-old Mayweather has gone as far as to refer to this pay-per-view endeavor as a “legalized bank robbery.” He has downplayed Paul’s significant size advantage and basically broadcast a “buyer beware” disclaimer in advance of what will transpire at Hard Rock Stadium in nearby Miami Gardens.
Mayweather’s message for fight fans offended by his return to the ring, even for a bout that doesn’t count, couldn’t have been clearer Thursday during a press event at the landmark once known as the Versace Mansion.
“I say everybody’s entitled to their own opinion,” Mayweather told a group of reporters. “Nobody has to watch. Nobody has to pay. Do whatever makes you feel good. And I’m gonna do whatever makes me feel good.”
The Grand Rapids, Michigan, native is fine with the condemnation that accompanies partaking in what has been lambasted by his harshest critics as a shameless money grab.
“If you’re doing good, people are gonna criticize you,” Mayweather said. “If you’re doing bad, people are gonna criticize you. But I’d rather be a winner and doing what I wanna do in life, and people criticize me.”
Some involved in the Mayweather-Paul promotion have informed BoxingScene.com that they think it can crack 2 million pay-per-view buys. The price point for this four-fight show, $49.99, is half of what cable and satellite operators charged for Mayweather’s fight against UFC superstar Conor McGregor in August 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Mayweather-McGregor was perceived as a mismatch as well, yet enough boxing, MMA and casual fans purchased it to generate the second-highest buy rate in boxing history (roughly 4.3 million). Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao remains the sport’s standard for pay-per-view events, as it produced approximately 4.6 million buys in May 2015.
If Mayweather-Paul approached half of that figure, it’d have to be considered an enormous commercial success because the completely inexperienced Paul has no boxing background and lost his only professional fight, a six-round split decision to YouTube rival Olajide Olatunji, better known as “KSI,” in November 2019 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Unlike McGregor, Paul can’t claim elite-level success in another combat sport gives him a shot to upset Mayweather, either.
Regardless of how many buys it does, ringleading this circus has been well worth Mayweather’s time.
“Just leading up to this fight, just the buildup for this fight, I’ve already made $30 million,” Mayweather said. “And that’s not bad for a guy that’s retired.”
The hefty financial rewards notwithstanding, Mayweather repeatedly stressed Thursday that he’s just doing this for “fun.”
“I did something that I wanted to do,” Mayweather said. “Nothing is never forced, but something that I wanted to do. Something that made me work out a little bit. And if I’m able to push myself and move around with a guy that’s tall, that think he’s strong and he’s banking on his youth, it’s good.
“You know, you guys have seen this over and over and over and over again. ‘Oh, this is what I’m gonna do. Oh, I’m gonna get a lucky shot.’ You seen guys come out and keep pressure. You seen guys try to box. You seen guys try to counter-punch. The results will always be the same.”
Boxing’s former pound-for-pound king also acknowledged that he intends to make Paul pay for mentioning Josie Harris, the late mother of three of his four children, during a press conference last month at Hard Rock Stadium. Mayweather wants to knock out Paul, who stands seven inches taller than him and could out-weigh him by 50-plus pounds when they enter the ring.
Those rooting for Mayweather still shouldn’t expect him to try to knock out his overmatched opponent too soon. When asked Thursday if he’ll “carry” Paul in this unofficial fight the way some suspect he did with McGregor before he knocked out the exhausted Irishman in the 10th round, Mayweather didn’t deny that is a possibility.
“We gonna give the people a show,” a smiling Mayweather replied. “We have to give the people a show. The people deserve a show. Because if these people paid their money and the fight ended in the first round, they’re gonna be upset.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.