Mayweather, 44, and Paul, a 26-year-old YouTube star with one professional fight to his name, were initially set to fight in February. That matchup was postponed, reportedly because of coronavirus-related restrictions on crowd size.
Paul said in January, “When you are dealing with someone like Floyd Mayweather, who is the most-desired, highest-paid fighter on the planet, and he operates at a certain caliber and the people around him want to make sure their talent, their fighter is performing at a certain level, there are a lot hoops to jump through. There are a lot of people involved and you’ve only got one shot at it, so you need to get it absolutely 1,000 percent right. We’re just making sure we’re doing that.
“But yeah, I’m still going to beat the s--t out of Floyd Mayweather,” Paul continued at the time.
“Or maybe he’s going to beat the s--t out of me. Who knows? The point is it’s still going to happen.”
Assuming the fight, labeled a “special exhibition” by Fanmio, takes place this time, it will represent the second time Mayweather has stepped into the ring since a 2017 win over UFC star Conor McGregor ran his record to 50-0. He announced his retirement after that fight, then took on Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa the following year in a boxing-only exhibition that Mayweather boasted earned him $9 million for “9 minutes of sparring.”
It’s likely that only the promise of another lucrative payday could convince “Money” Mayweather to put on his gloves again, and Paul provides an opponent with major name recognition despite a paucity of boxing experience. After taking on another online personality, Olajide “KSI” Olatunji, in a 2018 amateur bout that was ruled a majority draw, they met again the next year as professionals, with Olatunji winning in a split decision.
That gives Paul more losses in one fight than Mayweather suffered in 50. As Paul suggested earlier this year, who wins the fight likely matters less to him than the opportunity to increase his fame and leverage that into future earnings.
Paul has amassed a major following via his YouTube channel, which counts 22.9 million subscribers. His 24-year-old brother Jake, a former actor in a Disney Channel show, has 20.4 million YouTube subscribers. Jake Paul boasted that his fight with Askren, staged at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, generated 1.5 million pay-per-view buys and over $75 million in revenue.
UFC President Dana White has expressed blunt skepticism about the numbers claimed by Triller, which staged that fight, and Jake Paul, who improved to 3-0 with wins of dubious value over fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib and former NBA player Nate Robinson. There is little doubt, though, that the Paul brothers are capable of commanding far more interest than most boxers of far greater experience and championship belts.
Tuesday also saw Jake Paul say on Twitter that he will accept a challenge from UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman to meet in the boxing ring. Usman, fresh off a knockout win over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261, had told TMZ Sports that he was more interested in beating up one of the “Internet guys” than in squaring off with McGregor.
After Paul’s post, though, Usman tweeted, “Keep making your money young man, and stay on that side. I ain’t no Disney kid and I don’t play fighting.”
Paul had tagged Usman in writing, “If your boss Dana gives you permission to box me and make more money than you ever have, let me know and we can lace them up. I promise it will be your biggest pay day.”