Bring on more of the boxing exhibitions, George Foreman said after watching Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul's eight-round fight Sunday night.
“The strangest thing is I’m starting to enjoy these exhibitions a lot more than the so-called competitive fights they put on because there’s no entertainment value to those,’’ Foreman, a former two-time heavyweight champion, told USA TODAY Sports. “These have entertainment value.
“Mayweather turned into the slugger, following the guy around. And (Paul) is as long as Wilt Chamberlain with that jab. It was exciting.’’
Foreman was equally bullish when Mike Tyson returned to the ring for the first time in 15 years in November for an eight-round exhibition against Roy Jones Jr. That night, Jake Paul knocked out retired NBA standout Nate Robinson, fueled the celebrity fights and brought attention to the YouTube celebrities — namely, brothers Jake and Logan Paul.
Jake Paul followed up with a knockout of retired MMA fighter Ben Askren, and the celebrity fights peaked Sunday when Jake’s older brother, Logan, survived eight rounds against Mayweather, the Hall-of-Famer.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., right, fights Logan Paul during an exhibition boxing match Sunday in Miami. (Photo: Jasen Vinlove, USA TODAY Sports)
“There’s something really entertaining about this kid,’’ Foreman said of Logan Paul, 26, “and I don’t know where it’s going from there. But I was excited. And look, I’m an Olympic gold medalist, two-time heavyweight champion of the world and I didn’t miss a second of it. I was afraid to get up and walk away from it for a minute.
“It was an exciting night for me. And I didn’t expect that. Believe me. Some guys would say, ‘I’m turning this off now.’ I would not leave the televsion because at any second I thought Mayweather might take him out, then the kid starts jumping around using his jab and dominating. He didn’t have the experience Mayweather had, but he dominated with his size.’’
Not everybody was as effusive as Foreman, who said he would have scored the fight a draw. Bob Arum, the legendary boxing promoter, didn’t bother to watch the fight.
“It’s a joke,’’ he said. “It’s farcical. I wouldn’t pay five cents to watch it.’’
He also dismissed the possibility that someone will get hurt during exhibition matches.
“Nobody’s going to get hurt because everybody knows it’s all relatively scripted,’’ Arum said. “Mayweather could have got him out anytime he wanted.’’
In fact, after the fight Paul wondered aloud if Mayweather had allowed him to go the distance.
Teddy Atlas, the Hall-of-Fame trainer, called it a “pure money grab.’’
“Which I don’t begrudge either (boxer) for exploiting something that’s there to be exploited,’’ Atlas told USA TODAY Sports.
But Arum also said he had no objections to the exhibitions as long as he’s not paying to watch. And Foreman said he thinks plenty of people are paying — including the $49.99 charged for the Mayweather-Paul exhibition.
“The fans are whispering in our ear, saying they love it,’’ Foreman said. “Things are changing. If you don’t change with it, you’ll be left behind.’’
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