By: Hans Themistode
Everything seemed to come together in the blink of an eye.
Newly inducted Hall of Famer, Floyd Mayweather, dropped a bombshell on the boxing world when he announced that he would be taking on YouTuber turned semi-pro boxer, Logan Paul. The two are slated to face off on June 6th, at the Hard Rock Hotel, in Miami Florida. The event has already forced the competition to move out of the way as undisputed lightweight champion, Teofimo Lopez, who was set to take on mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr. on Triller one day prior, are seriously considering moving off of the date entirely as to not compete with Mayweather.
On the outside looking in, Mayweather’s showdown against Paul gives the impression that it was an easy one contest to make. A global icon in Mayweather alongside a rockstar in Logan Paul, simply screams dollar signs. With that said, it wasn’t as simple as many would believe. In actuality, it took years and someone with the audacity and street smarts to pull the trigger on the entire ordeal.
“Logan’s team reached out to me like two years ago,” said Dejuan Blake, CEO of affiliation management and the cousin of Floyd Mayweather during an interview on BoxingInsider podcast. “But it didn’t fall through during that time. It was actually Logan wanting to fight the KSI guy. We shopped it to Showtime but the Showtime deal didn’t fall through.”
Despite Showtime walking away from the negotiating table, Blake wasn’t entirely ready to leave Logan Paul in the dust. Unsure of the hidden gem he had at his disposal, Blake figured that his next best move would be to get closer to Paul. Yet, even after discussing things with him further, it wasn’t until Blake received what he originally believed to be an innocent phone call from his two daughters, that truly made the light bulb flicker on.
“I invited him to my recording studio in Vegas,” said Blake. “I posted a picture of me and him on my Instagram page and my daughters called me. My daughters at the time were six years old and they were like I’m with such and such. So when my daughters told me who he was, I looked at my boy who manages him right now and I said, this kid must be really fucking big if my kids, who are only six years old, are calling me about this mother fucker that’s in the studio with me. So with that being said, I knew something was there but Logan knew something was there before anybody. He knew this shit was going to work.”
From there, everything began falling into place for Paul. He would go on to face fellow YouTube star KSI on DAZN and generate major buzz for their showdown. With that, what first began as a whacky and extraneous idea, quickly turned into the multi-million dollar gravy train that it is today.
“It worked and they (Showtime) saw that it worked. They saw that it worked and they saw that it was going to generate the money. Now, this was just him doing it with just another YouTuber. They weren’t looking for another boxer at the time. They were just looking for another person who had the same type of following that they had but from another country. They put the two together and it was a blockbuster. They did some tremendous numbers and that was his leverage to shop this to other networks and platforms to showcase the talent.”
In totality, Logan Paul vs KSI generated 1.3 million pay-per-view buys worldwide, proving his star power. With Mayweather routinely producing millions upon millions of pay-per-view buys in his own right, it made financial sense for both sides to come together.
Although both Logan and his brother Jake, have essentially ushered in a new era of social media stars entering the boxing world, purists find their inclusion to be both a sham to the sport and their presence inconsequential.
Nevertheless, in the mind of Blake, times have simply changed. While there will always be room for more traditional boxing events, the insertion of YouTube megastars simply isn’t going anywhere.
“The wave is just different now,” explained Blake. “Who are we to tell somebody how they are able to go out there and feed their families? There’s going to be something bigger than this. One thing leads to the next.”
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