Boxing’s current lack of pay-per-view performers couldn’t be more evident than with the reappearance of its once marquee attraction.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. will return to the ring June 6 and the part-time Miami Beach resident has selected a local venue for his comeback. The five-division world champion, who turned 44 in February, will face internet personality Logan Paul in an exhibition at Hard Rock Stadium.
The bout’s scheduled distance has not been finalized. Boxing purists consider it a farce but the younger demographics, which rely on social media as part of its daily activities, are the targeted audience for the event.
“Logan Paul is huge on You Tube, he has a huge following,” Mayweather said. “It’s all about entertainment and, of course, when he’s on social media, he’s entertaining people all the time.”
The Hall of Fame champion and novice boxer were at Hard Rock Stadium on Thursday to announce the event. As part of the promotional hype, Mayweather and Paul stood on a platform posed for photos and exchanged insults to the delight of their respective camps.
“You’re old, you’re a grandpa,” Paul told Mayweather, who responded, “My kids love me, my grandkids love me and guess what — I’m going to teach you like you were one of my grandkids.”
After they finished their joint appearance, Mayweather and Paul conducted separate interviews with media. During one interview session that featured Mayweather, Paul’s brother, Jake, attempted to remove Mayweather’s hat, setting off a skirmish.
Like his brother, Jake Paul also has parlayed his internet popularity into boxing pay-per-view events. Two weeks ago, Jake Paul knocked out former MMA fighter Ben Askren and he also stopped ex-NBA player Nate Robinson in November 2020.
Logan Paul, instead, is opting for arguably the best boxer of the past 50 years.
“After this fight I don’t want anyone to tell me anything is impossible and that’s what I’m representing,” Paul said. “I don’t believe I can beat him. I know I can beat him.”
This will not be Mayweather’s first venture into exhibitions since he retired after knocking out Conor McGregor in 2017. The following year Mayweather traveled to Japan and knocked out kick-boxer Tenshin Nasukawa in one round. Mayweather was scheduled to visit Japan for another exhibition earlier this year, but the event was scrapped because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even though I’m old, I’ve got a lot of experience,” Mayweather said. “I’m going to go out there and show him this is the elite level and it’s something totally different.”
Mayweather’s participation and the pay-per-view tag is yet another example of former champions tapping into the lucrative and often challenging pay-per-view medium. Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. boxed in a pay-per-view exhibition last November that generated a reported 1.6 million buys.
Mayweather excelled during his 21-year professional career, winning all 50 of his fights, including 27 by knockout. On his path to titles in five classes, Mayweather defeated notable champions Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De Le Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez. His victory over Pacquiao in 2015 set the all-time pay-per-view record with 4.6 million purchases.
But none of the active fighters have broken through the pay-per-view threshold. Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who lost a decision against Mayweather in 2013, is the only fighter with such a pedigree but his recent bouts have been showcased on the subscription-based stream service DAZN.
“I’m a real fighter and I’ve been there with some of the best and June 6th I’ll be in there terrifying,” Mayweather said. “On my worst day, I’m going to be Floyd Mayweather and do what I do best.”
The June 6 event also will feature the boxing debut of former NFL wide receiver and Miami Beach High graduate Chad Johnson. Also scheduled to appear on the card are former light-heavyweight champion Jean Pascal and two-division titleholder Badou Jack.