Floyd Mayweather has announced that he will return to the ring on February 20 in an exhibition fight against American YouTube star Logan Paul.
The fight has been heavily rumoured in recent months, and the 50-0 boxer took to social media to announce the “Super Exhibition” that will take place as a pay-per-view event on Fanmio.
Mayweather, 43, was last in action on December 31, 2018, in an exhibition bout against undefeated Japanese kickboxer, Tenshin Nasukawa.
His opponent, the ‘Maverick’, is an internet sensation who has garnered over 22 million YouTube subscribers, 18.6 million Instagram followers and 5.8 million Twitter followers.
Paul’s only boxing experience has come in two fights against YouTuber KSI, the first a draw in the world’s most popular white collar fight, and the second, a loss in a tightly contested professional bout in November 2019.
The 25-year-old’s professional six-round bout against UK YouTuber and rapper KSI took place at the Staples Center in LA, and is reported to have sold over 1,200,000 pay-per-views across Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN.
A new era?
The fight announcement marks a new wave of boxing events where celebrities and online influencers step into the ring to compete in front of millions of fans.
Just last week, Snoop Dogg announced that he would be teaming up with video streaming app Triller to create a celebrity fighting league called “The Fight Club”.
Mike Tyson also heralded YouTubers as the saviours of boxing after his fight with Roy Jones Jnr. The 54-year-old said, “Boxing needs to thank the YouTubers for bringing our sport back.”
Boxing journalist Dev Sahni told Park Life Sport that, ” Legendary retired fighters like Mayweather, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones, have earned the right to do pretty much what they like to earn money.
“These are exhibition fights and there have been exhibition fights throughout the history of boxing. Boxing will continue, as will these types of fights,” said Sahni.
Ring magazine reporter Ryan Songalia told Park Life Sport, “This isn’t unlike the Conor McGregor fight in that, he’s getting in the ring with someone who doesn’t really have the capability to hurt him, but has enough of a following to generate massive interest.
“And, as we learned from Tyson-Jones, it doesn’t have to be an actual fight to sell pay-per-views and generate revenue,” said Songalia.
Logan’s brother, Jake Paul, has also ventured into the world of professional boxing, fighting on the undercard of Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jnr in November.
After his victory over NBA veteran, Nate Robinson, the ‘Problem Child’ called out MMA superstar Conor McGregor.
Social media sensations like Jake Paul, who has 20 million YouTube subscribers and a 2-0 professional boxing record, are attractive opponents for fighters and celebrities due to the amount of views and money they generate.
As of yet, there has been no details about the place of the event, structure of the fight or whether fans will be able to attend the historic bout.