Sports

Mayweather vs. Paul won’t ruin boxing, but it will further dilute the art of the sport

This is apparently Logan Paul, who considers himself a professional boxer.

This is apparently Logan Paul, who considers himself a professional boxer.
Image: Getty Images

Fourteen months removed from being thrown out of his Ferrari in a near-death experience, Errol Spence rebounded to outclass Danny Garcia Saturday evening in Dallas. The bout left many calling for Spence to defend his WBC and IBF Welterweight Championships against WBO Welterweight Champion and arguable pound-for-pound number-one Terence Crawford in a 2021 superfight. It’s one that people like Max Kellerman, Jared Dudley, and I have been calling for since at least 2019.

And perhaps maybe Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions still make Spence-Crawford happen in 2021, but instead, less than 24 hours later, we get this announcement.

Floyd Mayweather is fighting Logan Paul. Not Jake Paul, who knocked Nate Robinson out silly, but Logan, his brother, who is also an undefeated YouTube boxing pro at 1-0. Yes, Mayweather — a 50-0 pro and arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer ever — will be fighting a YouTuber in February who is six inches taller, at least 40 pounds bigger, and 18 years younger.

This fight won’t ruin boxing, but it will expand a dangerous wave we’re watching evolve. It will entice even more bouts featuring non-boxers, and perhaps, expounding on this one in particular, non-boxers versus actual boxers. We’ve already seen DAZN feature KSI, both Paul brothers, and AnEsonGib, whom Jake TKO’d in round 1 this past January. There are even more YouTube boxers than people realize — enough to make an entire tier list. Again, as bad as Paul’s knockout of Robinson was, maybe YouTube boxers are OK if they just remain fighting each other. Perhaps all you’ll get is a lot of money and a broken nose as opposed to a grievous injury or worse.

But where it gets dangerous is pairing actual boxers with YouTube boxers because, at some point, both worlds will collide in the same weight class. The danger won’t come with Mayweather. He’ll likely just counterpunch the much bigger Paul and embarrass him instead of outright shattering him as he did to Japanese kickboxing sensation Tenshin Nasukawa in another exhibition.

But Logan’s younger brother, Jake, has been calling himself a boxer now for some time, and although he does have a little bit of experience in the squared circle, at some point, we’ll see these two worlds collide unpleasantly. And boxers, most of whom aren’t financially secure forever, will pounce at the opportunity for a life-changing purse. Because of social media, it’s hugely effortless to begin rivalries now; it’s how all these YouTubers began wearing boxing gloves to begin with.

This fight doesn’t kill the sport — certain promoters and or executives may already be trying that from within — but it positively doesn’t progress the art either. In fact, it only provides a more straightforward pathway to an inevitable real boxer versus YouTube boxer match-up. Whenever that happens, it could be life-altering for both financial and health reasons. We haven’t entered that portal yet, but Mayweather versus Logan only solidifies that we’ll get there.

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