You ever watch the Peanuts holiday special, A Charlie Brown Christmas? You know that scene where Snoopy’s auditioning for a part in the play when Lucy, the director, is barking out orders? She catches the beagle mocking her and tries to slug him. Snoopy ducks and lays a big wet kiss across her cheek only to hear Lucy rant and rave about his germs. The camera then zooms in on the star of the legendary comic strip as he lets out a signature two-second “bleaaahhh.”
If you know the reference that’s the exact reaction I had Sunday when news crossed the timeline that Floyd Mayweather Jr., arguably the greatest boxer we’ve seen the last quarter-century, is stepping back into the ring for an exhibition match against the YouTube star Logan Paul.
Because nothing could be more unappetizing to boxing and its hardcore fans than Mayweather, the future Hall of Famer, and Paul, the problematic social media influencer, agreeing to box in some bullshit pay-per-view event that’s going to make them a ton of money while doing absolutely nothing for the growth of the struggling sport.
By now you probably know that 43-year-old Mayweather, who hasn’t fought professionally in over three years, took to Instagram to announce that on February 20th he’s stepping back into the ring to face-off with the younger, taller, heavier Paul who has one professional fight under his belt. It’s preposterous, ridiculous, and absolutely a shameless money grab. I feel like Snoopy—insulted and tired I’m writing about another unnecessary event that’s going to outshine everything else in boxing.
Because celebrity sells rather actual skills in today’s society, it looks like I’ll have to stomach another massive promotional push for something that isn’t going to bring new fans to the sport and surely will not lift up boxing’s current superstars who deserve way more shine and respect than they receive.
As someone that cares about the sport, loves covering it and writing about it when I can, it sucks that, yet again, a meaningless match is going to drum up an immense amount of interest while current stars of the sport languish as afterthoughts. It happened a couple of weeks ago when Mike Tyson returned from a 15-year absence to fight Roy Jones Jr., approximately 20 years after a fight between the two legends could’ve/should’ve happened. Last year I went off about the absurdity of DAZN headlining a boxing card with Paul and some other social media influencer I had never heard of named KSI. I’m willing to bet the fight did practically nothing to hook younger fans to the sport and become subscribers to the streaming service, despite the best intentions of the promoters who organized and produced that sham.
Of course we went through a similar circus in 2017 when Mayweather had his first crossover fight with MMA superstar Conor McGregor that made both men stupid amounts of money. At least they were professionally trained combat fighters with legendary resumes. As entertainers, they should be applauded for conning the sports scene into generating JAY-Z levels of money following a promotional world tour and 10 forgettable rounds of boxing—Mayweather reportedly netted over $200 million for his efforts, McGregor reportedly around $100 million.
In reality, Mayweather-McGregor should not have lasted more than a few rounds since Mayweather is a genius in the ring and McGregor only seriously trained as a boxer for roughly six months. If Mayweather wanted to drop McGregor, he could’ve on command. But ever the showman, the fighter once known as Pretty Boy who morphed into Money Mayweather in the middle of his career played it cool and gave people more bang for their buck.
I hope Mayweather does the same for those sadly hyped to pay for another farce of a fight. Reportedly, the pay-per-view with Paul will only cost $24.99. That’s great because if Mayweather takes this latest charade seriously—a legitimate question considering he barely did leading up to the McGregor fight—he would embarrass Paul in less than a round. I don’t care about age, I don’t care about size, I don’t care about any tale of the tape stats—Paul’s running a deficit to Mayweather in the department of in-ring skills and knowledge by a measly three decades. He has zero chance to defeat one of the greatest modern defensive boxers ever. Who wants to see that?
"This is going to be a great night for the fans worldwide as we are bringing something special to them through sports and entertainment," Mayweather said in a statement released Monday. "I have never shied away from doing things differently throughout my career and fighting Logan Paul in this special exhibition is just another opportunity for me to do it again."
Because celebrity sells rather actual skills in today’s society, it looks like I’ll have to stomach another massive promotional push for something that isn’t going to bring new fans to the sport and surely will not lift up boxing’s current superstars who deserve way more shine and respect than they receive. Boxing is, of course, forever fucked up for reasons I can tick off like the alphabet. But when it’s good it’s the absolute best and few things in sports equal the drama of a prizefight between stars.
The sport’s full of them right now, especially young ones, like unified lightweight champ Teofimo Lopez, a burgeoning superstar whose defeat of Vasiliy Lomachenko back in October was arguably the sport’s high-point in 2020. When politics don’t get in the way, boxing’s OG divisions—lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, and heavyweight—can all produce intriguing, exciting, and extremely consequential fights. Kind of like we saw this past weekend.
Instead of talking about Errol Spence Jr.’s ultra-impressive return to the ring against Danny Garcia, the Mayweather news dominates on Monday. If all was right in the world, fans and media would ignore it and put the full-court press on the sport’s powerbrokers to make two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in Spence, the WBC and IBF welterweight champion, and Terence Crawford, the underrated WBO welterweight champion, finally meet in a massive showdown to unify one of boxing’s best division, the same one Mayweather owned for a decade.
Clearly that’s asking for too much. Just like I wish Mayweather would quit it with these fights—let’s not forget he last fought in an exhibition match in Japan two years years ago that was a complete joke—and promoters would stop making matches absolutely nobody needs to see. Or hear about. Or read about. Or pay attention to.