Money man Floyd Mayweather souring Sweet Science
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DURBAN - For the umpteenth time, Floyd “Money” Mayweather is set to once again return to the boxing ring after declaring that he was done with the sport. Though nobody can deny Mayweather’s class in the ring and legendary status, he seems to change his mind about retirement more frequently than Chippa United change their head coaches.
While Mayweather is a self-confessed mercenary, his latest exhibition will annoy boxing aficionados more than any other of his novelties
He is set to face off against controversial YouTuber Logan Paul in an exhibition bout next February. Paul is about as controversial as Mayweather in terms of his antics. In 2017, he courted controversy after filming a suicide victim’s body in the Aokigahara forest of Japan, which is noted for being a place where many opt to end their lives.
His song “handlebars” on YouTube was criticized for misogyny and in January 2019, he once again caused controversy by claiming that he would “date men for one month” shortly after breaking up with actress Chloe Bennet. His comments were criticized for attention seeking as well as having homophobic and sexist implications.
While the showmanship ahead of and during the bout will promise to be world-class and hilarious, the action promises to be less than good. The likely scenario is that Mayweather will make the bout appear to be competitive by keeping Paul in the game, as he did when he was up against UFC icon Conor McGregor in August 2017 in a boxing match.
While McGregor attracted praise for lasting 10 rounds, the truth is that Mayweather carried him through the match in order to leave the fans happy. The legendary defensive and welterweight boxer could have easily ended his contest against McGregor within three rounds or sooner if he wanted- even at the ripe old age of 40.
Unlike McGregor though, Paul would not even be able to cut it at professional level against lower ranked boxers. Though his boxing technique is not on par with the elite boxers, McGregor does have a background in boxing and would be able to hold his own against lower ranked professional boxers.
Though technically a professional boxer, Paul’s only professional bout was against fellow YouTuber Olajide Olatunji, popularly known as KSI which he lost via split decision. His technique can be described as awkward at best and the same applies to KSI.
The first of the two matches between KSI and Paul, was an amateur bout promoted as “the biggest event in internet history” and took place in August 2018 in Manchester, England, ending in a draw. Hilariously the duo had their younger brothers Deji Olatunji and Jake Paul (also YouTubers) face off on the undercard with the younger Paul brother winning. Ahead of the event, the Paul’s brothers even proposed that their father face off against the father of the Olatunji’s. making it a truly family event but the suggestion was seemingly swept aside by the Olatunji brothers who hail from a British family of Nigerian descent.
Paul swung and missed in both of his bouts against KSI so how does he think that he will stand a chance against Mayweather?
Paul has a massive fan community consisting of people aged 15-25 and the match will be promoted with the message that he will stand a chance due to his physique and athletic ability. Granted, Paul is a decent athlete and previously starred in amateur wrestling in the United States.
However, he simply stands no chance against 43-year-old Mayweather due to boxing technique and raw skills. In a wrestling match, Paul probably would beat Mayweather. Boxing like batting in cricket is an art that takes years of practice to perfect and refine. Though both arts seem fairly simple on paper, the differences in ability and skills are very noticeable in someone with over 20-years experience as compared to someone with a mere two years of experience.
The Paul vs Mayweather contest will raise questions about the overall health of boxing. Mayweather will simply choose a fight which will bring him the most money, and the fact that he agreed to this fight over a fight against an elite professional proves that it may earn him more money.
What will also be concerning to boxing traditionalists is the fact that these novelty matches appear to be garnering more interest than those involving two elite boxers.The highlights package of the second match between Paul and KSI garnered more than 25 million views on YouTube.
By contrast, the highlights package of the recent bout between Danny Garcia and Errol Spence Jr who are two elite boxers did not even garner a million views on YouTube.
It appears that the modern generation is more keen on showmanship than on witnessing truly classy boxing.
The one argument on why Mayweather vs Paul may be a good thing is that it could help to bring in a new set of young fans to the sport. By witnessing Paul in action, some of his fans will opt to take up the art. One can hope that they will respect it.