By: Hans Themistode
Floyd Mayweather sauntered his way to the ring with a large team walking firmly behind him. Once inside, he took off his prefight outfit and stood across the ring from Logan Paul. The two faced off in an eight-round exhibition contest this past Sunday night at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
Just before the bell rang, Mayweather appeared to look the same. He was seemingly in great shape and the aura that has surrounded his career felt identical. Yet, once the action began, he looked drastically different. The otherworldly reflexes that allowed him to dip and slide out of the way of his opponent’s punches over the years simply weren’t there.
Known for his timing and defense, Mayweather was a bit off early as the much bigger Paul found small doses of success during the opening round. But, in typical Mayweather fashion, he managed to turn back the clock for short stretches. The newly inducted Hall of Famer would make Paul miss and immediately make pay.
Although he dominated down the stretch, Mayweather failed to score the stoppage or record a knockdown. Following the eight-round spectacle, Mayweather stepped to the post-fight podium smiling but speaking softly. While many were expecting to see the Floyd Mayweather that amassed a spotless record after 50 pro fights, the former five-division world champion simply shook his head and laughed. Though he may look the exact same physically, he acknowledged that the sublime skills he once had have eroded.
“Of course at my age, I’m not going to perform like when I was 19, I’m not supposed to,” said Mayweather during the post-fight presser. “Is my hair going to be all black forever? Absolutely not, when I get older it’s going to turn all grey and I understand that but that’s a part of life. Am I going to be able to fight like I was when I fought Diego Corrales or Arturo Gatti? Absolutely not and I understand that.”
In both of those instances that Mayweather alludes to, he looked spectacular in stopping both men.
For years, Mayweather appeared to be impervious to age. Even at 38, Mayweather looked as good as ever in defeating Manny Pacquiao over the course of 12 rounds in 2015. At no point has he ever looked vulnerable in the ring or a half step slower. With that said, he did last night. But that isn’t to point a critical finger in his direction. After dominating everyone that was placed in front of him over his two-decade-plus career, Father Time has simply tapped Mayweather on the shoulders. And although some of his fans have grown despondent over a fighter who is now a shell of his former great self, Mayweather isn’t interested in looking like a sympathetic figure. He fully accepts and embraces the position he is currently in.
“I’m almost 45 years old, I’m not going to be able to perform like 20 years ago, of course not. That’s a part of age but you age gracefully.”