Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul came to Miami.
They made their promises. They fought their “fight.”
They left with a few more million than they had when they arrived.
And whaddya know? We all survived.
Whether you believe a 44-year-old Mayweather carried Paul through eight rounds or you think the upstart YouTuber deserves credit for a victory simply for not embarrassing himself, fine.
One reality is clear, at least for the time being.
When it comes to boxing in 2021. This is the world we live in.
The Paul boys – Logan and younger brother Jake – have become the straws that stir the drink.
Don’t think so? Ask yourself a simple question.
Wherever you found yourself on Monday – an office water cooler, a new home construction site, the front seat of a car tuned to sports radio – what was a sure-fire topic of conversation at each?
Here’s a hint… it probably wasn’t Devin Haney or Teofimo Lopez.
In my case, whether it was adult teachers in the hallways of an elementary school or teenagers on the sideline of a rec league lacrosse game, it was a consistent drumbeat of fallout from Sunday.
Did Paul win? Did Floyd try? How much did they make? When will they do it again?
Keep in mind, these are the circles I travel in at least five days every week. And 99.9 percent of the people I encounter are fully aware of what I do for a journalistic living. They know I cover boxing. They know I go to fights. They know I write stories. They know I’ve been doing it for much of my life.
But at no point in the five years that I’ve taught have I ever had so many people stop me the morning or evening after a fight and ask me so many questions. Not when Lopez fought Lomachenko. Not when Fury fought Wilder. Not when Canelo fought Kovalev, Khan or Saunders.
In fact, the only thing remotely close was when Floyd fought Conor McGregor.
And if that doesn’t tell you something, it should.
Rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly, wisely or stupidly, people like this stuff. They’re intrigued by it. They’re entertained by it. They want to hear more about it. And they’re willing to pay to see it again.
Whether Logan Paul can slip a jab or Jake Paul can set a trap is immaterial to them.
And when you take their influencer cache and meld it with a genius self-marketer on Mayweather’s level, it’s a match made in short-attention span Millennial heaven.
Leaving other fighters wishing, at least when it comes to bank balances, they were him.
“Floyd is unique,” said former HBO blow-by-blow man Jim Lampley, who worked several of the man’s fights before his exodus to Showtime in 2013. "No other fighter has the willful creativity to be this shameless in public. They envy his money but they don't really admire the way he earns it."
So long, hard work and dedication. Welcome, cash grab and manipulation.
And if you think the guy who made a cool $50 million is worried about purist disgust, think again.
Longtime sidekick Leonard Ellerbe told me so when we chatted a few days before the fight, and as I told friends afterward, if him saying the word “entertainment” had been a drinking game I’d have been in rehab by the time the call was finished.
They’re selling a spectacle. A circus. A break from reality.
Or a farce if you prefer.
But they’ve done their homework. They know their audience. And they delivered exactly what it sought.
Naturally, it leaves the legit boxing fan feeling one of two ways.
Either they beat their chests and insist no one actually pays attention to this nonsense – you know, kind of like they did about the UFC so many years ago – or they recoil in fear at the specter of their sport being overrun by grudge matches between Instagram and TikTok celebrities.
Truth is, it’s probably somewhere closer the middle.
The market for this stuff is hot right now. And Sunday didn’t hurt. Jake Paul will probably find his way into the mix if he handles Tyron Woodley next month, and it should surprise precisely no one if he and Mayweather – or someone else with a big fight game name – are signing a contract by September.
The longer he stays successful, the longer the momentum will last.
But it won’t be forever. Nothing ever is.
He’ll win a couple. He’ll lose a few. People will enjoy it, then they’ll get bored and start sniffing around for the next ridiculous diversion.
MMA on ice skates. Full-contact golf. Obstacle courses with live piranha.
Ultimately, when it comes to boxing, the craving for authenticity will win out, Lampley insists.
Or maybe hopes.
“(It could) cheapen the image of the sport in the minds of people whose view is limited enough that they identify it as boxing,” he said. “It isn't. Just another example of the societally corruptive power of social media. Until people realize they are being ripped off it will persist, driven by social media.
“An institution that gains identify by destroying conventional standards.”
Buckle up, everybody. We’re in for an unconventional ride.
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This week’s title-fight schedule:
No title fights scheduled.
Last week's picks: None
2021 picks record: 22-7 (75.8 percent)
Overall picks record: 1,178-382 (75.5 percent)
NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA "world championships" are only included if no "super champion" exists in the weight class.
Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.