No one expected Logan Paul to win but the YouTube celebrity turned boxer managed to go eight full rounds with Floyd Mayweather in an exhibition bout on Sunday night.
Technically no winner was going to be declared no matter what happened but knockdowns and knockouts were allowed but neither of those occurred as Paul did his best to use his size advantage to deal with Mayweather’s far superior skills. To his credit, Paul showed his durability after absorbing a few hard shots from Mayweather but refusing to go away until the final bell sounded.
“I don’t want anyone to tell me anything is impossible ever again,” Paul said after the fight ended. “The fact that I’m in here with one of the greatest boxers of all time proves that the odds can be beaten. I’m the maverick. I go right when they go left. I’m the unorthodox one. I’m the independent one and everyone has it in them.
“Everyone can beat the odds and do great things in life and I want everyone to know that. That’s the message that I’m here to say.”
For his part, Mayweather paid credit to Paul for showing toughness and giving him a tougher fight than he expected after accepting the exhibition bout.
“I had fun,” Mayweather said. “You’ve got to realize I’m not 21 anymore. But it’s good to move around with these young guys. Great young fighter. He’s better than I thought he was.
“He’s a tough, rough competitor. It was good, had fun. I was surprised by him tonight. I had fun.”
Giving up a considerable height and weight to his opponent, Mayweather was fast on his feet in the early going, staying on the outside and using his fast hands to tag Paul whenever the YouTube superstar was willing to step into his range.
The end of the first round saw Paul surge ahead and make his best attempt to hurt Mayweather as he trapped the former multi-time champion in the corner and unleashed a flurry of punches. Unfortunately for Paul, Mayweather covered up and took little to no damage as he walked bac to his corner.
Mayweather’s output was nearly non-existent in the first couple of rounds as he allowed Paul to chase him around the ring while looking to exhaust his opponent. The strategy was working with Paul dropping his hands and showing labored breathing as he began clinching more with Mayweather, attempting to lean on the smaller fighter with his weight.
As the clock ticked away into the fourth round, Mayweather was moving forward and just picking Paul apart with his superior boxing. Time and time again, Mayweather was just measuring his shots and then unloading as he started to really take over.
While Paul kept throwing, he was eating far more punches than he was landing with Mayweather targeting the body and then going back up top to the head. Paul was also starting to wear the damage on his face with a welt forming under his eye as he tried to catch his breath.
Mayweather continued to march him down as the 44-year-old retired boxer was really starting to dig to the ribs with his punches but Paul was surviving, which if nothing else was a moral victory.
With the fight moving into the eighth and final round, Paul was still standing and constantly leaning on Mayweather in the clinch as the crowd in Miami was getting restless at the lack of action. Despite Mayweather’s prowess and superior skills, he just wasn’t letting his hands go enough to do the kind of damage that would put Paul on the canvas.
Afterwards, Paul couldn’t help but wonder if maybe Mayweather allowed the fight to make it to the final bell but he obviously wasn’t complaining after going eight rounds with a boxing legend.
“I’m going to go home thinking did Floyd let me survive?” Paul said. “He’s one of the GOATs. In many ways he controls this sport. It’s an honor to grace the ring with him.”
Mayweather appeared open to future boxing exhibitions while Paul smiled as he added that perhaps a rematch could be scheduled between them in the future.