Fanmio CEO Solomon Engel spoke to FanSided about putting together the Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul fight.
On Sunday, June 6, a retired professional boxer — one of the best to ever put on the gloves — will face a 26-year old YouTube megastar with a single professional boxing match (a loss) to his name. It will undoubtedly be the biggest event of the weekend, likely the biggest event of the month, and one of the biggest sporting events of 2021.
How did these two individuals, major celebrities in their own worlds, come together for such a unique event?
In an exclusive interview with FanSided, Solomon Engel, the CEO of the fight’s pay-per-view provider Fanmio, explained how the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul came together.
According to Engel, talks of the fight first started in early 2019, when Fanmio was working with both Mayweather and Paul on separate engagements. It was Engel that proposed to Mayweather a fight against Paul. Mayweather was hesitant; the initial hurdle was simply educating him on the reach of Paul’s star power.
“First of all, Floyd didn’t know who Logan was when we first brought Logan to him,” Engel said. “He didn’t really think much of Logan and didn’t understand the size of the fan base globally, what type of reach he has.”
But once Mayweather had a grasp of Paul’s reach (he has 23.1 million YouTube subscribers), he was all the way in. Living up to his “Money” nickname, negotiations became easier once Mayweather understood the dollar signs in front of him.
“If he’s interested in something, he’ll put his mind to it and he’ll take you serious, especially when he sees a big opportunity in regards to money. There was certainly a good deal of money exchange involved in making this happen. For someone like Floyd that always lends a helping hand in getting a deal done…
“Once he realized the size of Logan’s fan base, it became a little more obvious that this could be a very unique opportunity. That was the hardest part. The money side was pretty easy. Once we knew what we needed to get Floyd, it was just a matter of giving it to him (laughs). That just made the conversation accelerate.”
Early pay-per-view estimates indicate Floyd Mayweather vs. Logan Paul could be a record-breaking event.
A combination of the two fanbases — YouTube and boxing — will make for a massive event, says Engel.
“Floyd has his audience. We know he has a sizable audience, obviously he’s sold more pay-per-views than any other fighter. Logan has his audience which is an entirely different one… You put it together and it’s just a larger audience in aggregate.”
Indeed, while pay-per-view buy-rate estimates are notoriously murky, and he is quick to add that he “can’t validate it at all,” Engel says that he’s been told from parties in the industry that this fight has already sold more pre-fight pay-per-views than any other fight in history.
The key, says Engel, is that this fight is much more than celebrity boxing. It’s a compelling match-up that, while entirely unique to the entertainment zeitgeist of 2021, taps into a mystery that piques fan interest.
“I don’t believe celebrity boxing is what makes this entertaining,” he said. “It’s really the match up. I’m not really for, like, when I see YouTubers versus Tik Tokers, it’s kind of a joke… I think what makes this good entertainment is paring up the right people, the right fighters…
“When you look at some of these celebrity boxing matches that are coming out, I think those are more spectacle. Those are just promoters coming together and trying to put two individuals that aren’t necessarily professional fighters but they have some fame. They put them together and just hope that it’s entertaining and fans will come and pay to watch. I think it’s very different than what we’re doing here with this event.”
By matching a legitimately talented, but aging and much smaller boxing veteran against younger, much more inexperienced but much larger man, Engel believes he is giving fans a compelling reason to tune in, not for the spectacle, but for the fight. The pairing creates the question that can only be answered by watching the bout: What happens?
“The mystery… The fact that Logan is so much larger than Floyd, it really creates a level of mystery that the fans on Floyd’s side and on Logan’s side are really wondering what’s going to happen here. Just look at the story. Floyd’s a little older, a lot smaller, we know he’s the most skilled boxer, but people are wondering what’s happening with age. Then you have this young, hungry, very large man. Logan, he’s huge. I was just with him, he’s growing at a rate that’s insane, he looks like a gladiator.”
Engel gives a hard sell on this fight, promoting it as more of an interesting athletic competition than spectacle, and he has a point. The draw is not the spectacle, the lunacy of Paul’s shenanigans going head-to-head with Mayweather’s legitimate greatness. The draw is the fight itself. Because one need look no further than the early days of MMA (and throughout the long history of combat sports) to find that fan interest is typically driven by one question: What happens?