When Floyd Mayweather Jr. fights Logan Paul on February 20, there will be more at stake than boxing’s reputation. Saving the sport’s reputation is one of the reasons Floyd gave for fighting the much younger YouTube star.
If Floyd loses, he could become a sports world laughingstock. But Mayweather Jr. won’t just test his clearly diminished skills versus the much bigger boxer. He will also test his pay-per-view draw. Money has two of the top five PPV draws of all time. If nobody pays money to see the older Mayweather beat up young Logan, it’s a sign boxing has moved past the greatest pay-per-view fighter of all time.
With that in mind, check out the top five PPV fights in history. The list could surprise you so let’s get right to it and then you can continue planning your bets and place them against our Floyd Mayweather odds.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. Has Two of the Top Five PPV Most Viewed Fights in History
Top 5 Most Watched Pay-Per-View Boxing Matches of All Time
- The Sound and The Fury – Tyson Vs Holyfield 2
Evander Holyfield beat Iron Mike Tyson in the first bout. 2.67 million viewers showed up for the second bout between the two best heavyweights in the world. Earlier in the year, the two had a great fight that Evander won in the eleventh.
According to Mike, Evander kept head-butting him in the first couple of rounds. So in the third, Iron Mike took off a piece of The Real Deal’s ear with a massive chomp. That ended the bout.
- Lewis Vs Tyson: Is On
By the time Mike took on Lennox Lewis in 2002, he was a shell of the former Baddest Man on the Planet. 2.7 million paid to watch Lewis dismantle Iron Mike for a rather pedestrian eight rounds.
- The Super Fight – Hagler Vs Leonard
The first massive mega-fight in history garnered 3.15 million views. Sugar Ray Leonard had to retire after Tommy Hearns detached his retina in their classic 1981 bout. While in retirement, Marvelous Marvin Hagler had become the greatest pound-for-pound boxer on the planet.
Hagler had beaten Roberto Duran, Hearns in the three greatest rounds in boxing history, and one of the most underrated middleweights of all time, John “The Beast” Mugabi.
Leading up to the 1987 bout, most believed Hagler would dominate. Marvin, though, started too slow. Sugar Ray provided his usual flash and it worked. The scorecards gave it to Leonard even though by many accounts Hagler had won the fight.
Marvin never fought again. Instead, he became an actor in Italian action hero films.
- Mayweather – McGregor
Many felt the August 2017 bout was a Mayweather stunt. After all, Conor McGregor had no boxing experience. But McGregor is one of the greatest mixed-martial-arts fighters of all time. Boxing, although a specific style of combat sport, is fighting.
Conor fought Floyd tough. Mayweather Jr. beat McGregor in the tenth but it wasn’t easy, and it was only after Conor had exhausted himself earlier in the bout. 5.17 million tuned in to what was one of the better boxing matches of the year.
- Mayweather – Pacquaio
5.77 million paid to watch Floyd Mayweather Jr. dominate Manny Pacquaio. Manny headed into the ring with a bum shoulder. He asked Floyd if he could get a cortisone shot before the fight. Mayweather Jr.’s camp said no.
Like we’ve written before, bum shoulder or no bum shoulder, Floyd was at the top of his game in the bout. Mayweather Jr.’s style is to play defense and force his opponent into making reaching shots. Manny’s over aggressiveness costed him because all Floyd did was move out of reach or counter.
That doesn’t mean Floyd didn’t provide a lesson in boxing brilliance. It just means that for the cost and because of the billing, boxing fans expected more than another dominating performance from Floyd Mayweather Jr.