YouTube celebrity Logan Paul surprised the boxing masses on Sunday after going the distance in an eight-round exhibition with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Miami.
However, some spectators suggested the fight was fixed in Paul’s favour after spotting an exchange late in the sixth round where Mayweather may have actually helped keep his opponent standing.
Twitter user @Foot_Basket posted a clip showing ‘Money’ dodge a punch only to catch his target flush with a right hook of his own, causing Paul to stagger and clinch with the 50-0 legend.
The pair maintained that grab almost until the end of the round, with referee Samuel Burgos breaking up the contact just prior to the bell.
Paul, 26, does appear to go momentarily limp after feeling Mayweather’s fist make contact, though it’s also doubtful as to whether the smaller fighter could hold up a foe more than two stone heavier.
It was agreed in advance that no winner would be declared from the clash if the two fighters saw out all eight rounds at the Hard Rock Stadium.
As a result of that rule and following weeks of build-up between the pair, it was anticipated the professional combatant would finish his social media adversary in what was the only route to the ‘win’.
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Some agreed Paul’s reaction was skeptical, and one commenter said: “You could tell he was going out cold by his head movement it looked like he passed out.”
Others doubted the claims of fixing as one reply read: “This was never a knockout, it’s called getting “Buzzed” your legs and body go out for like 2-3 seconds but people recover from it.”
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, conceded his fighter was “really p***ed” after an incident in which Jake Paul, Logan’s younger brother, stole his hat at a promotion event in May.
That fall-out only built expectations the grizzled veteran would chase the finish in his matchup against the elder Paul, seeking some form of revenge for that embarrassment.
Many suggested an exhibition bout such as this was below Mayweather, but the lucrative earnings to be made in part explain his motivation for competing.
Speaking in the build-up to their bout, Mayweather recently said he made north of $30million (£21m) during the promotion phase alone: "For the build-up so far, I've made something upwards of 30million (US Dollars).
"(I'll make) Between 50 and 100 (million US Dollars). Not bad for the Mayweather zone.”
He also said it was in his interest to ensure the fight didn’t end too quickly, as fans would be disappointed: "To me, it's a win-win but I'm in a no-win because if I knock him out fast in the first round, they're gonna be like 'Aw man this wasn't worth it.’
"If I let it go a few rounds and drag it out, they're gonna be like 'Aw man, he let a YouTuber hang in it for a few rounds.’”
Mayweather, 44, collected 27 of his 50 pro victories via knockout, the last of which was a 10th-round stoppage of UFC superstar Conor McGregor in August 2017.
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He also made light work of kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa when they clashed in another exhibition in December 2018, ending that bout in a little more than two minutes.
However, the 34.5-pound weight difference between Mayweather and Paul prevented the former from getting the finish on this occasion.
‘Money’ took his time to find a rhythm on Sunday, starting off cautiously and allowing Paul to wear himself down in the earlier rounds.
Even after settling, Mayweather struggled to get inside his enemy’s considerable range and saw out all eight rounds, though he unsurprisingly looked the superior fighter overall.
Mayweather has garnered a reputation for flaunting his cash and placing huge wagers on sports like American football, sometimes betting hundreds of thousands at a time.
A bet on himself to win via decision could have yielded big returns considering a knockout finish was so heavily favoured by the bookmakers, though the exchange in question gives scant evidence of fixing.
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