'I didn't retire from making money': Floyd Mayweather shrugs off critics before bout with Logan Paul
American boxing great takes on YouTube star in an exhibition in Miami on Saturday
Floyd Mayweather Jr has dismissed the criticism of his upcoming boxing exhibition against Logan Paul by insisting he didn't retire from making money".
Mayweather, a five-weight world champion, is regarded as the finest fighter of his generation and retired unbeaten in 2017 with a 50-0 professional record.
The American's bout in Miami on Saturday against a 26-year-old internet star with just two bouts to his name, has therefore been greeted with disdain in much of the sporting world.
There will be no judges ringside, although knockdowns and knockouts are permitted, with the bout scheduled for eight rounds at the Hard Rock Stadium.
Promoters are hoping the event will generate pay-per-view sales in the two million range, delivering a lucrative payday for its protagonists.
Jake Paul, Logan's younger brother, reportedly brought in 1.3 million views and earned around $75m for his fight in April against mixed martial artist Ben Askren, so it's plausible that those numbers could be trumped given Mayweather's appeal and the social media popularity of his opponent.
Mayweather meanwhile is aware his first foray into the ring since another exhibition fight in Japan on New Year's Eve in 2018, which ended in the opening round, has left the boxing purists cold.
Yet the American brushes off the criticism of those who believe he is tarnishing his legacy and the sport. For a fighter nicknamed 'Money', financial gain has always been the primary objective of Mayweather's career.
"I don't really worry about the (pay-per-view) numbers," Mayweather said on Thursday. "I am just here to have fun and entertain.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I live for Floyd Mayweather and I choose what I want to do. If I want to go out, have some fun and make $50, $60, $70, $100 million, let me do it. I am not bothering anyone. I am not out robbing or killing. I am doing what I want to do.
"I retired but I didn't retire from entertaining and making money."
Floyd Mayweather brawls with Jake Paul
Even Mayweather's final official bout, against MMA superstar Conor McGregor, was more of a money-spinner than it was a serious fight, while since then the American has entered the ring for an exhibition contest against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa on December 31, 2018.
'Here to achieve the impossible'
A chaotic pre-fight media availability on Thursday at the former Miami mansion of murdered fashion icon Gianni Versace suggested interest in the event is high, despite the premise proving unpalatable for many.
Logan Paul, whose first fight against fellow YouTube star KSI in August 2018 generated 1.3m buys worldwide and made the event in Manchester, England the largest non-professional boxing match of all time, said: "This whole thing is just so crazy, we have already defied the odds. When my manager asked if I wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather I just laughed.
"I am here to achieve the impossible."
For Mayweather, however, it's just another payday and a return to the limelight.
"You know what's crazy? I am in a no-win situation," he said. "If I knock him out in the first round they will say it wasn't worth it. And then if it carries on for a few rounds, they will say it's not worth it.
"But it's always worth it for me. I want to give the people what they want to see and have some fun.
"We chose Sunday because we wanted to do something different - events like the Super Bowl and the Grammys are always on a Sunday. I always like to take chances.
"I am fighting a Youtuber and getting paid crazy money for it. That's not bad for someone who has retired."
Updated: June 4, 2021 06:18 PM