by Máté Földi
In sport, the line between eternal greatness and anonymity is razor-thin. Half a second: if only Gonzalo Higuain had composed himself and buried that early one-on-one in the 2014 World Cup Final against Germany, Argentina would have likely ended their trophy drought. 28-seconds: the Antonio Spurs were that close to clinching the 2013 NBA Finals. One punch: that’s all that stands between Logan Paul securing the biggest sporting upset of all time against Floyd Mayweather.
With much of the world’s attention fixed on Joe Biden’s much-anticipated inauguration, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that today is also a milestone in the boxing world: we are exactly one month away from Logan and Floyd meeting in the ring on February 20th, 2021.
What a world.
This is a mega-fight. Not just in terms of pay per view (PPV) potential but also in sheer absurdity. Let’s take a look at the numbers first. There is a reason they call him Floyd “Money” Mayweather: the 43-year-old knows how to secure a pretty purse and bring paying eyes to the sport. The top five of the best-selling PPV events read as follows:
- Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao – 4.6 million PPV buys
- Floyd Mayweather vs Connor McGregor – 4.3 million PPV buys
- Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Connor McGregor – 2.5 million PPV buys
- Floyd Mayweather vs Oscar de la Hoya – 2.4 million PPV buys
- Floyd Mayweather vs Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez – 2.2 million PPV buys
The man knows how to make it rain.
Paul is no slouch either in this department. His August 2018 matchup against British Youtuber KSI ranked 21st on the list with 1.2 million PPV buys, while their November 2019 rematch, Paul’s official boxing debut, was “much, much bigger” and the most viewed fight on DAZN at the time, according to promoter Eddie Hearn. Let’s not forget that, at the time of writing, Paul also has 22.7 million subscribers on Youtube and a further combined 39.5 million followers across Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.
Then there’s the sheer absurdity of it all, on a sporting level anyways.
Logan is 25, Floyd is 43. Logan is 6-foot-2 and around 200 pounds, Floyd is about 50-pounds lighter and six-inches shorter. Logan is an extremely athletic Vine-cum-Youtube megastar who made his professional debut in 2019 and is 0-1. Floyd, arguably the sport’s pound-for-pound GOAT with a record of 50-0 and 27 knockouts, was winning Golden Gloves as an amateur while Logan was still chilling inside his dad’s nutsack.
Despite having the advantages of youth and size on his side Logan remains, to the surprise of no one, the underdog by a country mile. Those factors don’t mean jack against one of the greatest athletes of all time, who, retired or not, has remained in great shape since his last professional fight in August 2017. Moreover, Mayweather is taking the fight “very seriously”, according to Solomon Engel, the CEO and Founder of Fanmio, the company promoting the event. And with Engel confirming that knockouts will indeed be allowed in this “special exhibition” fight, Floyd will not be taking any risks with his legacy. Even if the rest of the rules will be such that a shock loss would leave his 50-0 record intact, taking an L from Logan Paul would hurt a lot more than any alternate reality loss from his 50 other fights.
And yet, at the risk of being a naïve heretic and getting stoned for my apostasy, I think Logan will secure an upset for the ages.
Sure, such is the gulf between the two fighters that even if Logan doesn’t have to cut weight and he’s actually allowed to go for the win, Floyd will, to borrow Mike Tyson’s words, 99% “beat his fuckin’ ass”. But, and this is a big but, size actually matters in this matchup. If Logan can use his superior physique to his advantage and survive long enough to catch Mayweather with one, well-executed full-strength punch on the chin then he will achieve the unthinkable. In sports, biology matters and weight classes exist for a reason. It’s a huge ‘if’, no doubt, but crazier things have happened.
What we can all agree on, however, is that the fight is the walking embodiment of a mismatch, boxing’s ‘wtf?!’ moment par excellence. Indeed, a few years ago it would have been unthinkable. Even Connor McGregor coming over from the Octagon made more sense – at least he was a season martial arts champion.
Some would even call Logan Paul vs Floyd Mayweather an insult to boxing. For all of you so-called ‘purists’ and ‘authentic’ boxing fans pulling your hair out, I hear you. These are strange times we live in and change is never easy to accept.
But let me stop you there. Instead of taking the easy route and seething with hatred and at what a mockery ‘your sport’ has become, take a different perspective. Think instead of all the attention boxing will get and the new interest in it from a generation of impressionable young fans that worship social media stars. Sure, it’s a bitter pill to swallow that your favourite fighter, who came up the ‘traditional way’, would never get such an opportunity, and certainly not if his record was 0-1, but the fact of the matter is that this fight was not gifted to Logan Paul. Love or hate the man and his content, you cannot deny his exceptional work ethic. You can rage against the dying light all you want but this fight, however unorthodox, is the result of years of hustling and grinding both inside and outside the ring. 22.7 million subscribers on Youtube and 39.5 million followers across Instagram, TikTok and Twitter are not gifted, they are earned.
Still not convinced? Look on the bright side: as any true fighter or connoisseur of the sport will know, once Logan Paul steps into that ring on February 20th, the fact that he’s millionaire Youtuber who picked up the sport a few years ago won’t matter. There will be no retakes or second edits. He’ll be left with the bare bones: all alone in a desperate attempt to not get the shit beaten out of him by a boxing Goliath, taking things jab-to-jab.
You can purchase the fight on the official Fanmio website. Tickets cost $59.99 but will increase to $79.99 from February 11th.