Gianni Versace was a true renaissance man, a cultural figure whose name still lives on 20 years after his death.
Logan Paul, standing in the late fashion designer’s mansion in Miami Beach during a media event on Thursday spouting garbage about knocking out one of the greatest boxers of all time, will also be remembered, albeit for different reasons.
“I am that dude, the guy who does something no one else thinks they can do,” he said before scotching the record – 50-0 if anyone has forgotten – of Floyd Mayweather, the former welterweight champion of the world. “I don’t give a fuck. He hasn’t knocked anyone out for a decade.”
That could very well change on Sunday night at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium when Mayweather, 44, returns to the ring once again to face a YouTuber whose finest accomplishments include giving CPR to a fish and tasering two dead rats.
The Pretty Boy was all smiles during fight week, brushing off accusations of the bout being no more than a joke, while stressing that although he has indeed retired, he will never quit entertaining and earning money.
“I always want to take chances and do something different,” he said. “I live for Floyd Mayweather. People choose a profession because they do what they want to do.
“So I want to go out, have some fun, and if I make $50m, $60m, $70m, $100m, let me do it. I’m not out robbing or killing.”
You can’t blame Mayweather, who had a skip in his step following his youngest daughter’s graduation – “She already had a Mercedes, but I got her the Jeep Wagoneer she wanted” – for trying to boost his bank balance and keep his kids in plush wheels for life. He last appeared on New Year’s Eve 2018 in Japan when a kickboxer was dispatched within the first round.
He claims to have already made $30m during the build-up to his latest return and with pay-per-view figures set to be substantial, plenty more is heading his way.
“We are always thinking outside of the box,” said Leonard Ellerby, CEO of Mayweather Promotions.
The 26 year-old Paul isn’t short of a few bucks either.
His ability to have used social media to make himself and his similarly obnoxious brother multimillionaires is impressive, even if the individuals are not. They are new-age businessmen, even if what they are monetizing may seem inane to older people.
Promoters are always looking for ways to generate fresh revenue and, in today’s climate, those with a huge following on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram are the targets.
That’s a lot of young eyeballs – most of whom probably have absolutely no idea of how revered Mayweather was in his pomp – and will undoubtedly be tempted to pay the $49.99 to watch what transpires at the home of the Miami Dolphins.
After pulling back the curtain, however, there’s not much left to see.
Mayweather ended his career in 2015 as one of the best boxers in history (his fight against UFC’s Conor McGregor in 2017 technically counted towards his record, even if it was little more than a very lucrative exhibition) morphing his aggressive younger self into someone who perfected the art of avoiding getting hit.
This will be an unorthodox fight, to put it mildly. There will be no judges and a win will only come from a stoppage or knockout. It will be eight, three-minute rounds consisting of a manchild with just two bouts to his name (both against fellow YouTuber KSI; one defeat, one draw) trying to achieve what the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Álvarez all failed to do and beat the man from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“It’s like an Evel Knievel stunt meets a circus meets pugilism,” said New York-based promoter Terry Lane. “But, at the end of the day, it’s only interesting because they are fighting. We aren’t tuning in to watch them play tennis.”
Intriguing? Perhaps. Mayweather, retired or not, remains pure box-office material.
But a sporting spectacle? Turn off the lights and take a short nap.
At a time when traumatic brain injuries are coming into sharp focus, the last thing boxing needs is another reason for the detractors to shout louder.
McGregor talked a wonderful game and enticed over four million people to buy the pay-per-view ($99.95 for HD) and watch him hopelessly prance around the ring in 2017 and barely trouble Mayweather who was laughing all the way to the bank, once again.
Discussions over a rematch surfaced last Thursday and, although there wouldn’t be the same kind of clamour experienced for the first meeting, at least both protagonists are professional fighters.
You just don’t play boxing. This is a dangerous sport and although Paul is taller and expected to be heavier by almost 30lbs than his legendary opponent, the prospect of him getting hurt remains.
No one will ever stop the boxing business from grinding out the dollars, but if something catastrophic were to happen here on Sunday night, the chances of this kind of event happening in the future would recede.
Fighters train for a reason. Paul is not a fighter, he never will be.
The devil, however, is in the numbers.
Jake Paul, Logan’s younger brother, reportedly brought in 1.3m views for his most recent fight in April against mixed martial artist Ben Askren and generated around $75m. Next up for Jake is UFC fighter Tyron Woodley and the tiresome barbs have already begun, along with the ring of the cash register.
Unfortunately, we will probably see Logan in the ring again and yes, when the call came asking him about fighting Mayweather, of course this serial chancer was going to accept.
The problem is, we shouldn’t have been here in the first place.
Let Mayweather, if he wants, come back and fight real boxers. Seeing the likes of Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr attempt to roll back the years was hard to watch but somewhat acceptable.
Logan can keep springing his pranks for his millions of fans of YouTube. That’s what he’s best at so perhaps leave the serious stuff for professionals and spare the rest of us some earache.