Credit: Boxing Scene

Buncey’s BOXXER Bulletin: Mayweather vs. Paul, and the Bizarre Business of Boxing 

In this week’s column, presented by RDX Sports, veteran columnist Steve Bunce looks ahead to Floyd Mayweather’s exhibition fight against Logan Paul this Sunday in Miami, as the 50-0 Hall of Famer takes on a YouTuber-turned-boxer in what will no doubt be an entertaining, albeit unconventional night of boxing. 

Floyd Mayweather set the agenda for the boxing carnival of craziness in 2017 when he stopped UFC superstar Conor McGregor in ten lively rounds in Las Vegas. It was Mayweather’s fiftieth consecutive win, and was followed a year later by an exhibition bout against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa, whom he stopped within a round – cashing in $9M for his efforts.

On Sunday, in Miami, he takes the lunacy to a whole different level when he meets the other crown prince of the current mayhem, Logan Paul, over eight rounds.

It is billed as an exhibition, not a real fight, but there is one very real problem: Paul has no idea what an exhibition means. Paul has fought just once as a legitimate and licenced boxer, a controversial loss over six rounds to KSi in November 2019; I thought Paul won comfortably on the night of splendour in Los Angeles.

Paul just knows how to throw punches and not how to “fight” an exhibition, a part of boxing that only the best can pull off in style. Last year when Mike Tyson and Roy Jones met in their wonderful exhibition, they each knew their role, they pulled punches when they had to, worked brilliantly together and it was, rather surprisingly, a great spectacle.

Mayweather could fight a thousand rounds in a real exhibition with any other veteran, look great, entertain and never once break the unspoken rules of all “exhibition” fights. The main one is simple: no real punches. So, what happens when Paul catches him? And, Paul will catch him.

Paul is just 26, Mayweather is 44, Paul is a natural at about 200 pounds, Mayweather is over fifty pounds lighter, over six inches shorter and his reach is also four or five inches less. Paul is a big, fit, nasty novice and he will use his only advantage – his size. In the McGregor fight Mayweather’s timing was off, he had to fight to get it done and that was four years ago.

An ageing Mayweather was still too good for McGregor in their 2017 fight, winning by TKO in the tenth round / Credit: USA Today Sports 

Mayweather can showboat, float, land cleanly. But he will have to break exhibition protocol to keep Paul off and that will create the inevitable angry exchanges. It will, trust me, be a lot of fun.

Forget the height and weight – it might just end in a very, very ugly way. Mayweather has always been a vicious fighter, hurtful and with no compassion. 

For most of his fights during the last decade of his career Mayweather won the easiest way, took the least amount of risk. It was safer, but he never lost his edge. Trust me, he still likes to hurt people.

Well, that’s the most severe ending.

In other endings on Sunday in Miami, Paul gets the storyline and somehow floats and throws until the last bell in the eighth round. Paul and his brother Jake are good novices, which is often overlooked. 

If you take away Logan’s 23-million YouTube following and his vast personal wealth, you are left with a dangerous one-fight novice. Jake, who is younger, is an even more dangerous proposition.

Logan Paul’s only fight as a professional saw him lose on points to fellow internet sensation KSI / Credit: Sky Sports 

This fight/exhibition/naked attraction will not ruin boxing, it will not ruin the reputation of either boxer, it will not cause infamy in the mad and bloody business of boxing. Both fighters will share millions from the pay-per-view; both will be in more circus fights.

There is talk of Oscar De La Hoya getting a shot at revenge in a fight with Mayweather; every retired fighter wants to share some of the Logan Paul money.

“He’s an old man,” said Logan. “I just hope he doesn’t fake an injury before the fight – he is worried, he knows he has made a mistake.” 

It is fine pantomime dialogue, but Floyd’s love of the dollar will guarantee his arrival in the Miami ring, even with the aches and pains any 44-year-old former athlete would have after a hard training camp. 

Mayweather never trained for McGregor, we know that now, but he will not make the same mistake against Logan Paul.

It will be a spectacle. It might be brutal and If Mayweather hurts Logan, there is a natural “fight” to be made with Jake, who is the better of the two Paul brothers. And on and on it will go as more and more fights like this dominate the bizarre business of boxing.

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