Floyd Mayweather dominated his eight-round exhibition bout with Logan Paul and seemingly almost landed the killer blow to finish off his young rival.
With the lucrative pay-per-view extravaganza to be decided by knockout, technical knock-out or disqualification, the two men went the distance in their Miami showdown on Sunday and most onlookers agreed it would have been awarded to Mayweather had points been in operation.
Yet there was a brief moment where the Hall of Fame alumni appeared to catch his far heavier and younger opponent by the ear and had to keep him up.
To his credit, the 29-year-old Paul – who has 29 million YouTube followers – was able to put some pressure on Mayweather, the 44-year-old former five-division champion, who came in four weight classes lighter than his opponent at 155 pounds to 189.5.
The bout began quietly and descended into something of a wrestling match in round three, before Mayweather stepped his assault up a gear.
He had Paul retreating and looking tired after landing a series of punches in round four, then looked close to finishing proceedings towards the end of the fifth with a succession of body blows.
Paul coped with the barrage, however, and stood his ground through the final three rounds to earn considerable online support and praise from his rival.
“I had a great time moving with these young guys, test my skills and just to have some fun. He’s a great young fighter, tough, he’s better than what I thought he was,” Mayweather said.
“He’s a rough competitor. I was surprised by tonight. Good work. Good guy.”
Criticism before and after the event was widespread, but undisputed super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor explained there were two ways to look at this new trend for influencers in the ring.
“It’s bringing in young kids that are into their gaming and YouTube into the sport, it’s bringing fans and young kids like that.
“And if a few of them are interested in the sport and start training and following it then that’s good, it’s bringing new people to the sport and getting new eyes to the sport.
“But in other ways, it is making a mockery of the sport and they’re not competitive fights, it’s guys who have never boxed before in their life. They go on stage and start turning boxing almost into the WWE.”