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7 Dec, 2020 09:57

‘Why is he entertaining this clown?’: Boxing fans fume as Floyd Mayweather announces fight with YouTuber Logan Paul

‘Why is he entertaining this clown?’: Boxing fans fume as Floyd Mayweather announces fight with YouTuber Logan Paul

Boxing fans have traded blows online after former five-weight world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr announced he will be stepping back into the ring to face YouTube personality Logan Paul in an exhibition bout next year.

Mayweather, 43, confirmed the news in an Instagram post on Sunday, revealing that he and Paul, 25, would be facing off on February 20 at an as-yet unnamed venue.

It will be Mayweather’s first action since he demolished Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in an embarrassingly one-sided exhibition bout on New Year’s Eve in 2018, which netted the boxer a reported $9 million for just 140 seconds’ work.

The American ring icon last fought professionally when he faced UFC megastar Conor McGregor in Las Vegas in the summer of 2017, stopping the Irishman in the 10th round of a money-spinning contest which bagged Mayweather upwards of $100 million and which improved his unblemished record to 50-0.

Logan Paul – whose brother Jake recently boxed on the undercard of the Mike Tyson versus Roy Jones Jr undercard, knocking out former NBA star Nate Robinson – fought professionally last year against fellow YouTuber KSI, losing via split decision.

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February’s fight – billed by Mayweather as a ‘Super Exhibition’ – will be streamed as a pay-per-view by fan experience platform Fanmio, with prices for the first 1 million customers set at $24.99, rising to $69.99 to fans forking out for the fight closer to the date.

On hearing the news, disgruntled members of the boxing community claimed that the contest would end up being a one-sided farce, despite Mayweather giving away almost two decades in age to his vastly less experienced rival.

Some fans claimed Mayweather was doing further damage to boxing’s reputation by entertaining a “clown” like Logan, and was dangerously leading the sport into WWE territory.

UFC boss Dana White, who was involved in McGregor’s fight with Mayweather in 2017, also seemed less than enamored, commenting: “When people ask me the state of boxing right now, that’s where it’s at. Didn’t that kid [Paul] get beat-up by the f*cking video game kid from England? Now he’s going to fight Mayweather.”  

But Mayweather is a man who has always lived up to his ‘Money’ moniker, and some observers saw this as another display of shrewd business acumen from a fighter estimated by Forbes to be in an elite group of athletes to have reached more than $1 billion in career earnings.

YouTubers such as the Paul brothers stepping into the ring have also earned an unlikely ally in the form of heavyweight legend Tyson, who says they have helped revive interest in the sport. 

“Listen, my ego says so many things, but my reality is they help boxing so much,” Tyson said before he faced Jones. 

"Boxing owes these guys, they owe these YouTube boxers some kind of respect. They should give them some belts because these guys make boxing alive.

“Boxing was pretty much a dying sport. UFC was kicking our butts, and now we got these YouTube boxers boxing with 25 million views. Boxing’s coming back thanks to the YouTube boxers."

Also on rt.com Boxing world mocks Jake Paul as he calls out UFC's McGregor after brutal KO of ex-NBA star – but Tyson claims sport owes YouTubers

Mayweather and Paul had traded online barbs in recent weeks, with the latter claiming the boxing icon had been stalling on signing a contract for the bout because he “can’t spell his own name.”     

But Mayweather has now put pen to paper, and the pair stand to make millions each from a fight which many are convinced shouldn’t even be going ahead in the first place.

Also on rt.com ‘You don't know how to spell your name’: YouTuber Logan Paul goads Floyd Mayweather over fight contract talks