On February 20, 2021, Floyd Mayweather will enter the boxing ring for the 51st time in his career. His opponent won't be a title contender, an undefeated champion, a new rising star, or even another MMA fighter. Mayweather, one of the most successful athletes ever, the man who unveiled the secrets of the noble art and how to make the most money possible with it, will face Logan Paul.
A YouTuber and social media influencer, Paul - along with his brother, Jake Paul - is getting involved with boxing. While Jake won his only two fights until now, Logan could not achieve the same success as his younger brother.
Logan Paul fought professionally for the first and only time last year against another YouTuber, Olajide Olatunji, also known as KSI. The fight went the distance, with KSI getting the win via split decision, an outcome that Paul deemed controversial at the time.
Now, however, Logan Paul believes his loss was a divine intervention of sorts. He thinks that if he had won the bout with KSI, he would have taken one step forward and two steps back.
"I asked the universe; I asked the creator: 'Why did this happen?' It just didn't make any sense to me, and now, a year later, a year plus later, that everything is coming around, and oh my god, it makes sense! They say everything happens for a reason, and maybe I had to lose that fight," Logan Paul said in a recent episode of his podcast. "Maybe I had to have the greatest fall in the history of social media to have the greatest victory. Maybe I'm just saying things to make myself feel good about the situation. But seriously, if I had won that fight, would I have gotten this opportunity that dwarfs any opportunity or event that any social media star has done, ever? The gratitude that I have to share the ring with this legend is unparalleled."
The fight against KSI was a rematch of their first white-collar boxing encounter, which finished in a majority draw. On the undercard of Logan Paul's bout, there were two world-title fights. The reaction from the boxing purists was unequivocal: It was an 'insult' to pugilism. Despite the criticism, the event was successful, with millions of people streaming the bout. Some figures of the sport were more receptive to the YouTubers' effort, highlighting the importance of bringing new audiences to boxing, a sport that doesn't enjoy the same fortunes it once did.
Now, with Mayweather stepping in, the talk on whether bringing social media influencers to the ring is the right thing to do has escalated to a different level. Many think Mayweather is tarnishing his reputation, that his legacy can be badly damaged, and consequently, boxing's reputation as a whole.
As for Logan Paul, only the idea of the fight is already enough for him to consider that he has produced the highest feat ever by a social media star.
"You know, fighters work their whole life to get an opportunity to fight on a stage this big. This could be one of the biggest fights in the history of combat sports, and I don't say that jokingly," said Logan Paul assertively. "People can laugh and pretend it's a gimmick, but you got a guy who's 25 versus a guy who's 43, you got a guy who's six foot two versus a guy who's five foot eight. David and Goliath. You got a guy who's 200 pounds versus a guy who's 150 pounds."
What are Logan Paul's chances of winning the bout against Floyd Mayweather?
Floyd Mayweather has the longest active unbeaten streak in a professional boxing career at 50-0. Most bookmakers are predicting that the fight will end with Mayweather having his hand raised after no more than the opening round.
But what does Logan Paul himself think about his chances? Does he sincerely believe he could beat one of the best pugilists ever to grace a boxing ring? While he is aware his chances are slim, Logan still believes it is not impossible.
"It's the fight game, and anyone and everyone in the fight game will tell you that anything can happen at any moment - one punch. And I understand Floyd is the most evasive defensive mastermind fighter of all time, but you'd be lying if you said it was impossible. No one could say it's impossible," reflected Logan Paul. "I fully understand what I'm getting into; I fully understand the caliber of athlete that I'm dealing with here, but [I'm] just eager and excited to share the ring with him. The only thing I can do is work my a** off and do the best I possibly can. You can bet that I'm going for the knockout."
The eldest Paul brother is still amazed by the opportunity. While most people were shocked by the announcement, Logan couldn't believe even after his agent confirmed multiple times that the bout would happen.
"I can't believe Floyd took this fight, I can't f*cking believe [it]! When Jeff [Logan Paul's manager] first approached me, and he said: 'Hey, would you fight Floyd Mayweather?' Obviously, I go, just like every other human on the planet: 'What the f*ck are you saying? Are you on drugs? I mean, yes, I would, but that would never happen.' A month later, and he's like, 'I have a 14-page contract for you to fight Floyd Mayweather.' And then, for the next three-four months, I just refused to believe," Logan Paul revealed. "Until I was in the ring with this guy, and then he posted the announcement. This is very real."
An affront to the history of the noble art, or a new breath of life with a new audience, the effect that Logan Paul vs. Floyd Mayweather will cause to boxing remains to be seen.
"These YouTube girls better find some Barbie dolls to play with cause I’m not the one for the kid games. 3 years ago a fighter from the UFC said my name and I had to put a muzzle on that b*tch. Logan Paul can get the same treatment before I go conquer Japan again."
If it depends on Logan Paul, the world, and most of all, his millions of followers, will have a night to remember forever.
"As a person who wants to leave a legacy forever, I am going for the win."