Exhibition or not, Logan Paul will always be able to say he made it to the final bell against Floyd Mayweather.
Paul competed against the 44-year-old boxing legend in an eight-round exhibition bout Hard Rock Stadium Saturday in Miami that would end without an official decision as there were no judges assigned to score the bout. The only way for either man to have their hand raised was by way of knockout and though Mayweather appeared to control the majority of the action as expected, it was unclear if he ever actually hurt Paul.
At the event’s post-fight press conference, Paul praised Mayweather for the performance, but downplayed the suggestion that Mayweather may have been willingly prolonging the fight simply for the sake of entertainment rather than knocking Paul out.
“This goes without saying, but he’s definitely the most skilled fighter that I’ve ever went against,” Paul said. “Every little error I made, he capitalized on and I felt that immediately. It’s an honor. It’s an honor, but I can’t say that I wasn’t prepared. He was a little slower than I expected, I imagine his age is finally kicking in a little bit. Father Time, even a specimen like Floyd Mayweather, I imagine he could feel it a little bit.”
“You could tell when he turned it on a little bit,” Paul later added. “He blessed me with this opportunity and I’m happy about that and I don’t want to sit here after the fact and talk sh*t. But I think his age finally came into play. I could see it. He was coming forward, he was putting the pressure on me and then he started breathing a little heavier around five and six. He stopped coming forward and I had a second wind.
“I mean, who knows? It’s my f*cking second opponent. Give me a break, I don’t know, I’m happy. I’m going to go jump in the water and get drunk.”
The experience gap between the two athletes was enormous, with the retired Mayweather entering the bout with his legendary 50-0 pro record as well as multiple boxing world championships among his list of achievements.
Paul was competing in just his third boxing bout after competing once as an amateur and once as a pro (both against KSI, a fellow YouTube celebrity). The 26-year-old social media star is well aware of how absurd the matchup with Mayweather was on paper and over the course of the 24-minute fight he figured it was best to let his far more experienced opponent lead the dance.
“I knew if it went the distance, I won, technically,” Paul said. “But that wasn’t the game plan. When you’re fighting a guy like Floyd, the legend, the boxer, you’re kind of relying on him to figure out the game plan and then just play off his. I think I got him with a good shot in that first round, which kind of threw him off a little bit and like, yeah, surviving against Floyd Mayweather is great. He’s my second opponent. Floyd Mayweather’s my second opponent. I’m happy. It’s good, it was good fun.”
“I never got hurt,” he continued. “He worked the body more than I was used to in sparring. When you’ve got a guy like Floyd who has been doing this his whole life, he knows every single button, and he worked the body more than I had been used to, but nah, I do neck exercises, we good. I do situps. I said that to him, I was whispering in his ear, he hit me in the stomach and I go, ‘B*tch, I do situps.’”
What surprised Paul the most was how calm he remained throughout fight day. Though he has millions of followers across multiple social media platforms, Paul assumed that stepping into a megafight with Mayweather would leave him rattled when it finally came to do the actual deed.
If Paul ever felt the pressure, he didn’t admit it, and he was so composed that it’s actually made him concerned.
“I was waiting to get nervous and never did,” Paul said. “It scares me. It makes me question my humanity. I asked [coach] Milton [Lacroix] and [manager] Jeff [Levin], ‘Floyd’s in the ring, when is that moment gonna happen? When am I gonna get nervous? When is my heart gonna start beating fast?’ And it just never did. I gotta get checked out.”
He wasn’t as unflappable when pressed for a reaction on the fact that he actually just boxed Mayweather, widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time.
“It’s f*cking crazy, man!” Paul said. “No, it’s crazy. It’s f*cking crazy, dude! It’s a huge deal. But I don’t know what to make of it. I can’t comprehend it. Turn up, tonight, I guess. … It feels great, it’s surreal. It’s incredible. I don’t know.”
Paul was asked what could possibly be next for him, whether it’s more boxing, more pro wrestling work with the WWE, and even if he’d consider a fight with his brother Jake Paul in the future (Jake is currently scheduled to fight former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in August). In response to each query, Paul said he’s open to anything, but insisted that he and his brother need time to further establish themselves in the world of combat sports.
Because as surreal as his fight with Mayweather was, Paul received some sound advice on how to keep everything in perspective.
“It’s crazy because I try to be as present as possible and I try to take it all in and truly gauge how I’m feeling and what this moment is like,” Paul said. “On my podcast I have super athletes come on and they talk about that ‘what now?’ moment.
“I had a mentor here who’s close to me and before the fight he caught me in the bathroom and he said, ‘As big as this is, this is just another blip on your radar of life. And you’re gonna do great and this is not the greatest thing you’ll do, but it is big. Revel in the moment, cherish the moment, but you’re going to go on and do bigger and better things.’ I’m ready for him right now, who’s next?”