Last Saturday, all time great and former pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather took on the controversial youtube star Logan Paul in a farcical exhibition match in Las Vegas. The pair met over 8 rounds for a circus like spectacle that no fan of the sport asked for.
The fight went as predicted, Mayweather outboxing and at times punishing his 34lb heavier opponent, who saw out the final bell in a fight that ushered in a new era of WWE style entertainment.
Boxing, unlike most other international sports is and always has been heavily under regulated, with different boxing bodies able to choose which rules they abide by, often financed by venture capitalists or criminal elements. This wild west style culture often results in fighters banned for PEDs being able to fight in states where they’re not banned (often Texas or Nevada) or fighters whose boxing license has been removed for their own health, picking up a new license somewhere that needs the capital of sporting events.
With the rise of the social media celebrities reaching fever pitch it was inevitable it was due to infect the sport at some point, but this is nothing new. In the past we’ve seen exhibition matches between Oscar De La Hoya and basketballer Shaquile O’Neal and Muhammad Ali and wrestler Antonio Inoki. Right from its roots the entertainment side of the sport has often taken precedence, in 1933 wrestler and strongman Primo Carnera became heavyweight world champion, at a massive 6ft7 he towered over all the fighters of the day, his career effectively thrust upon him by his promotion outfit, The Mafia. They’re ambitions for the man were soon dashed after only a year, when he was knocked out by legitimate great Max Baer.
We had a good run where the sport wasn’t plagued by heavy commercialisation, but it was due to rear its head again, and here we are, youtube stars fighting each other and then fighting legends, old fighters coming out of retirement to give each other brain damage, and crossovers between MMA & boxing that should make you wonder, why?