The five-division boxing champion, considered by many to be among the finest ever in his sport, defeated Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in a 2018 exhibition, after which he boasted of having made $9 million for nine minutes of “sparring in Tokyo.”
Mayweather said on social media last year that he was “coming out of retirement in 2020,” but he also indicated around that time that he would only be interested in lucrative exhibition matches.
“I’ve got calls to get back into the ring, but my health is my wealth,” Mayweather told Reuters in November 2019. “Boxing is a very, very brutal sport. … You have got to know when to hang it up. I had a great career.”
On Sunday, Mayweather declared that the “Super exhibition” against Paul would take place on Feb. 20. A web page for the event showed it as being a pay-per-view that would start at $24.99, with the price set to rise as the fight drew closer.
Paul, 25, has built a large following on social media, including a listed 22.6 million subscribers to his YouTube stream. He has fought twice in boxing matches, both times to another online personality, Olajide “KSI” Olatunji. Their first fight, in 2018, was ruled a draw, and Olatunji won a rematch in 2019 on a split decision.
Paul’s younger brother and fellow YouTuber, Jake Paul, knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson in a boxing match last month to lift his record to 2-0. In the run-up to that event, Logan Paul called out Mayweather, and the two exchanged verbal jabs online.
An exhibition match last month between 54-year-old Mike Tyson and 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr. garnered a major amount of interest. The owner of the company that staged the fight told boxingscene.com that it attracted 1.6 million pay-per-view buys, which would reportedly make it the most-watched combat-sports event this year.