The YouTuber Paul is taking a major step up from his only previous experience in the ring against fellow social media star KSI, with whom he shared an amateur draw, before losing the tightly contested professional rematch via split decision. He may have the height, weight and reach advantage over Mayweather, as well as being 18 years younger than his illustrious opponent, but that is where the positives end for Paul. Mayweather is a former five-division world champion who retired in 2015 with a perfect 49-0 record before coming back to the ring in 2017 to beat UFC star Conor McGregor and clinch his 50th professional victory.
Mayweather does have experience of an exhibition fight like this one, crushing kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa inside one round, which suggests he will not be taking it easy against Paul – especially after their highly fractious press conference in the build-up to the fight when the YouTuber’s brother, Jake Paul, stole Mayweather’s hat, much to the ire of the boxing legend who fumed at the “disrespect”.
As this is not an official professional bout the duo will be wearing lightened 10oz gloves, but that is unlikely to spare Paul from Mayweather’s punishment. However, Paul insists it is a complacent Mayweather – who has said he doesn’t need to train seriously for the fight – who will be punished. “I think you’re going to see Floyd’s eyes light up, the first time I hit him,” said Paul. Mayweather responded: “There’s a difference between YouTube boxing and elite boxing and elite fighters.”
Follow live coverage from Hard Rock Stadium tonight: