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Retired and faded, Floyd Mayweather still remains boxing’s greatest showman

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MIAMI GARDENS, Florida – Floyd Mayweather is laughing somewhere in Miami.

A lackluster eight-round exhibition that went over the distance without an official winner was a fitting end to the Mayweather-Logan Paul showcase on Sunday evening. Everything about this fight was a circus, and the redemptive hope of a viral knockout worth it all turned out to be in vain.

There were no knockdowns, no significant moments in which Paul was injured, and although Mayweather clearly outperformed his opponent, there will be criticism that he could not cope with a Youtuber with a 0-1 professional boxing record.

“I was having fun. You have to realize that I’m not 21 anymore,” Mayweather said after the fight. “He was strong, tough and better than I thought. I was surprised by him tonight.”

When Mayweather left the ring, he grinned. He knows he got away with what he called “legalized bank robbery”. Mayweather says he already made $ 30 million leading up to the fight, from the sponsors listed on his suitcases alone, with a larger final budget expected.

Floyd Mayweather (left) said he made $ 30 million from sponsorship alone. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The reason Mayweather made money seems clear: Boxing has failed in many ways to replace his presence. The sport still screams for Mayweather and everything it brings.

Now 44 years old and retired from real fights since 2017 (and maybe longer, depending on how you see Mayweather’s last professional fight against Conor McGregor), Mayweather is clearly nowhere near the fighter he was at his peak. He certainly dominated enough of the bout to score a “win” when the bout was officially settled, but his overall performance was not overwhelming. Sure, Paul probably outnumbered Mayweather by pounds 40-50 on the night of the fight – a workable factor – but it’s not a definitive excuse for why he survived eight rounds.

“It’s the best moment of my life,” Paul said at the post-fight press conference. “I don’t know what to make of it. I can’t understand it.”

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Despite the lackluster nature of his performance, Mayweather remains boxing’s greatest showman. He remains the guy who gets people to adjust to a fight after they haven’t seen one in years.

Does that say more about him, boxing fans or boxing as a whole?

Many made fun of the idea of ​​this fight – a matchup that is so ridiculous on paper that it can hardly be called a fight. Hell, even Paul said he laughed when he first heard the idea.

But a lot of people were interested – that was evident from the frequency with which boxes were showing up in the top 10 Google trends on Sunday nights and the buzz on social media across the map. A fight that everyone knew was somewhere between a joke and a spectacle could still make the most pay-per-view purchases of the year.

Why? Mayweather explained it just days before the fight.

“I’m boxing,” said Mayweather. “Look at all the young fighters – they want to fight like Floyd Mayweather. They want all the cars and the jewelry, all the lightning, this is Floyd Mayweather. We’re not going to call it boxing anymore, we’re “going to call it Floyd Mayweather.”

Floyd Mayweather, right, didn’t commit to another show fight after dominating Logan Paul. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It’s nothing new for Mayweather to exude an arrogance and arrogance that polarizes him. People love that “Money” speaks his speech and supports it. No matter how you feel about him, positive or negative, you want to turn him on.

“I’m retired from boxing. But I’m not retired,” Mayweather said. “Nobody has to watch. Nobody has to pay. Do everything that is good for you and I will do what is good for me. “

And while Mayweather didn’t commit to another show bout, and during his post-bout press conferences voiced his doubts about returning to the ring at all, this is a fighter who has retired multiple times in the past. As long as Mayweather is ready to put on a show, even if it’s not really good, people will watch.

What’s next? Paul teased a post-fight rematch during his in-ring interview: “It was one of the greatest moments of my life. Floyd Mayweather / Logan Paul II? I don’t know. Maybe next time I can end it.”

Paul left with a moral victory for walking the distance with the greatest fighter of this generation. A rematch would likely bring in good numbers too.

Logan Paul, right, could give Floyd Mayweather a couple of blows. Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images

But the even more lucrative answer is Jake Paul, Logan’s younger brother and an accomplished boxer with a 3-0 professional record. The theme of vengeance is already ingrained in the “Gotcha Hat” stunt Jake pulled when he snapped Mayweather’s hat at a promotional event in early May.

Jake told ESPN earlier this week that this is a fight he definitely wants.

But that depends on whether Mayweather decides to do it all over again. His age showed in this fight. Although he told ESPN this week that he could beat Logan or Jake Paul with his “Z-Game,” it wouldn’t be a surprise if Mayweather left the sideline behind for now to focus on his primary post-career pursuit – promotion of boxing.

Ironically, in a sport that is struggling to find Mayweather’s true successor, Mayweather is hoping to find that fighter itself.

“The ultimate goal is to find the next Floyd Mayweather,” Mayweather said. “I’m not the type of fighter who doesn’t want to see my records broken. I want these young fighters to do it. I hope I’m about to see the next Mayweather.”

There are worthy candidates in boxing, but no firm buyers yet. And until it finds the next Mayweather, boxing is still screaming for whatever kind of show the current Mayweather wants to put on, even like Sunday night. And if the payday is right, history shows Mayweather will show up and pick up the check.

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Melinda Martin