In November of last year, the Boxing world was fascinated by the return of Boxing legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones who years after both men hung up their gloves as professional fighters decided to participate in an eight round exhibition event that was carried around the world on both digital as well as cable/satellite pay-per-view. The event, which this observer called a curiosity, was a success generating over a million pay-per-view buys at a $49.95 price point. Although the pay-per-view medium is one that has been in steady decline dating well back to before the ongoing global COVID-19 epidemic, it was impressive that two men in their respective 50’s could drum up such interest that extended beyond the Boxing enthusiast. While no one should have expected anything resembling Tyson and Jones in their respective primes, what was more impressive at least to yours truly was that the event was something that was intended to not only provide needed diversion, but also something that was a charity event that Mike Tyson even said it was a humanitarian cause for him at this stage of his life.
Since that event, which also signaled the entry into the sport of Boxing for social media platform Triller, there has been an influx of fighters from years past expressing interest in taking part in exhibitions and even one bout that will feature a former Boxing world champion in Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. facing future MMA Hall of Famer and former UFC Middleweight world champion Anderson Silva that will all take place during the month of June and all targeted as pay-per-view events. While the Chavez-Silva bout, which will take place on June 19th in Mexico is the only official bout that will be counted as a professional bout, the event that has generated the most interest is the exhibition between soon to be inducted International Boxing Hall of Famer Floyd Mayweather and social media influencer/YouTube star Logan Paul, which will take place on Sunday, June 6th at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL and be televised in the United States by Showtime Pay-Per-View.
Although this event, which will also feature professional bouts on its undercard is an exhibition, it has generated significant interest particularly amongst the casual sports fan. Why is that? At his best the forty-four year old Mayweather was among the best pound for pound fighters in the world. Mayweather, who officially retired unbeaten with a record of 50-0, with 27 Knockouts after defeating former two-division UFC world champion Conor McGregor in his last official fight in August 2017 still has a mystique in that whatever he does generates attention.
This was proven when Mayweather traveled to Japan to face then twenty year old kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in an exhibition that took place before a massive crowd in the Tokyo Dome as a special attraction on a Rizin MMA event. The exhibition on New Year’s Eve 2018, which was stopped in the first round as Mayweather made quick work of Nasukawa generated significant interest, but was blacked out from being viewed here in the United States, despite the Rizin MMA portion of the event being broadcast globally on FITE TV, was a mismatch that many expected, but did provide Mayweather with a significant payday from the Japanese-based MMA promotion.
Now in 2021, Mayweather is staging another exhibition against Logan Paul, but should the public expect anything different from Mayweather’s exhibition with Tenshin Nasukawa? In fairness, Logan Paul does have one official professional bout on his resume an eight round decision loss to fellow YouTube star Olajide Olatunji also known as KSI in November 2019, but it is hard to believe that Paul who will outweigh Mayweather by over thirty pounds, will have much success against one of the best fighters of his generation, despite having a height and weight advantage over Mayweather. The simple reason for this is Mayweather is by far more seasoned and has too much experience.
So why has this exhibition, which will be scheduled for eight three minute rounds, where both fighters will be wearing 10oz. gloves, and where no winner will be announced, though knockdowns and a potential knockout will be allowed, generated such interest? While this is only the view of this observer, it does have the element of curiosity particularly for the casual fan for whom Boxing is of sporadic interest.
While I have said in the past in regard to the subject of YouTube stars including Logan Paul’s brother Jake, participating in the Boxing ring that just because someone achieves some notoriety in a different form prior to entering the sport that it should not mean that said person should be dismissed as a boxer, what remains important to me is that everyone takes the sport seriously.
It may be something that is overstated at times, but Boxing is a combat sport and as a genre fighting sports are referred to as combat sports for a reason. There is always the risk of danger, injury, and unfortunately even death that each boxer faces each and every time they get into a ring. While some may accuse this observer of viewing things too seriously and not seeing things strictly for the entertainment value that might be involved, Boxing is an extremely serious sport and all involved need to take it seriously. It is not a joke and people have died in the ring,
While it may also be true that proceeds from this event may go to charity in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis that has not been made public, unlike the Tyson-Jones exhibition last November, it will be interesting to see how this event, which is priced at a $49.99 will do on digital as well as cable/satellite pay-per-view especially with several other pay-per-view Boxing events scheduled to take place during the month of June including one scheduled for June 26th, which will also be broadcast by Showtime Pay-Per-View,
Although yours truly sincerely hopes that this will be talked about in the days after the event as something that exceeded expectations and an occasion that will somehow elevate interest in the sport amongst new eyes that may not have watched Boxing before, it is hard to envision many including those of us who cover the sport especially given the circumstances of an ongoing crisis and economic recession viewing this with anything beyond a cynical view and may ultimately view this as a “Money Grab.” As for this observer, in closing, the reader who will probably tune into this event, if nothing else out of curiosity, should keep one thing in mind. “No Expectations, No Disappointments.”
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Mayweather vs. Paul takes place on Sunday, June 6th at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL. The card can be seen in the United States on Showtime Pay-Per-View for $49.99 beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT. The event will be available on www.SHO.com/PPV, the Showtime app, as well as cable/satellite providers throughout the United States. Contact your cable/satellite provider for ordering information or visit: www.SHO.com/PPV to order as well as for information on how to access the Showtime app on compatible streaming devices/platforms/Smart TVs
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