Sparring partner reveals how Mayweather is training for Paul fight
Denis Douglin reveals why he's been "blown away" by Floyd Mayweather in training, before cutman 'Stitch' Duran discusses working with the Paul brothers.
In the latest and most unlikely instalment of the YouTube boxing phenomenon, Floyd Mayweather steps out of retirement to face Logan Paul on 6 June in Miami.
Mayweather, 44, is widely considered to be the best fighter of his generation, has an unblemished 50-0 record, and collected no fewer than 15 world titles during a glittering boxing career.
Meanwhile Paul, 25, has fought professionally on one occasion, losing on points to fellow YouTuber KSI in 2019. Mayweather is, unsurprisingly, a favourite in the sports betting for their upcoming bout.
What Paul lacks in experience and boxing ability, though, he makes up for in popularity, commanding a whopping 22m YouTube subscribers. If a fraction of Paul’s following tune in on pay-per-view at around $50, the improbable matchup starts to make sense, financially at least.
But is Mayweather, the man who popularised the mantra "hard work, dedication" really going to push himself to the limit in the gym in preparation for a fighter who has never won a boxing match?
Mayweather's longstanding training partner, Denis Douglin, believes the former world champion’s motivation has been stirred by Logan Paul’s troublemaking sibling, Jake.
Jake Paul, who is also undefeated in the ring, stole Mayweather's hat at a press conference in Miami earlier this month and now the five-weight world champion wants to hold brother Logan to account.
Speaking via the Betway Insider, Douglin said: "I think Floyd thought taking his hat was disrespectful and it looks like it has lit a fire under him, from what I saw at the gym. I was very impressed. I think that had to do with the Paul brothers pissing him off.
"Floyd’s one of the greatest in the world – but I didn't think that he was going to train intensely for this. But now they’ve pissed him off now, so he’s turning it up. What I saw today from Floyd was very impressive.
"I was blown away. I was kinda expecting him to do a cookie cutter workout, shadow box and spar someone really bad just to stay active.
"But I came into the gym at around midnight and the energy and atmosphere in the gym felt like a real Mayweather fight. Floyd looked great, man - he didn’t miss a beat. Still cocky, still having fun, still crafty – it was a real sight to see.
"Watching him get rounds of sparring, hitting the bag, on the pads – he had great energy. I learned a lot just watching that.
"Floyd was to be the best in the world and he retired. So while he’s not taking this fight with Logan Paul as seriously as a real fight against Errol Spence, for example, he’s taking it as seriously as he needs to for what this fight is, which is for a kid who’s a little bit crazy and disrespectful, who does not understand the craft of boxing.
"Floyd’s going to teach him boxing’s an art. It does not matter if you’re bigger than me, or stronger than me because I have boxing skill. Floyd is one of the best technicians in the sport and I feel Floyd is taking that seriously – the need to show this kid boxing is about skills and not just a fight, it’s a science. 100 per cent he’s going to make him pay."
While Mayweather quite rightly found the hat fiasco disrespectful, one man describes Jake Paul's antics as a "masterpiece".
Jacob 'Stitch' Duran, the world's most famous cutman, has been involved in YouTubers crossing over to the boxing ring since working the corner for KSI against Logan Paul in 2019.
'Stitch', brought in by social app powerhouse Triller, also oversaw Jake Paul's first round stoppage of MMA fighter Ben Askren in early May and backs Paul’s hat-stealing antics.
Speaking via the Betway Insider, Duran said: "Jake Paul taking that hat off Floyd Mayweather I thought was a great masterpiece for marketing. Everybody is talking about it. He had to do what he had to do to promote himself, promote his brother and promote the fight because in all fairness, who wants to see Floyd 50-0 against Logan Paul 0-1 - what's the benefit to that?
"Jake Paul is an athlete. He used to be a wrestler and wrestlers make great fighters. He is also working with BJ Flores who is a great coach. And they've been working together for three years, so he's getting better.
"Everybody wants to fight Jake Paul, but Jake Paul does not need to fight everybody. Jake Paul doesn't need anybody but the guys he's going to beat.
"Conor McGregor would beat him. Just because of the long-term experience factor. The thing is, Jake Paul does not need that type of fight. Conor McGregor's buddy Dillon Danis, in a boxing match, that one I'd take. He's a wrestler, he's a grappler, he is a ground guy - that’s not to say they don't make great boxers – but It would be a very competitive fight.
"Plus, the marketing would be there for both of them and that brings in Conor McGregor automatically. It's all about a marketing game and how you maximise it. Jake's not here to be a world champion by any means, he's here to milk the companies - very simple.
"They're fun guys to work with - I will tell you how it's different working with them. We flew from Las Vegas to Los Angeles in a private jet, crazy. Then we get to our hotel and it's on Rodeo Drive and I walk into my room where my pillowcases have my initials embroidered on them. I felt like I was in the movie Pretty Woman!
"I've got to thank KSI first, he's the one that brought me in when he fought Logan. I knew nothing about these guys – who's KSI, who's Jake Paul? But working with them and wrapping their hands - and like when I worked with Michael B. Jordan in Creed - I saw their conversion from what they do to actually becoming semi-good boxers. And I applaud them for that."
Away from his new-found work with YouTube stars, Duran works with a host of fighters from the worlds of boxing, MMA, and even bare-knuckle fighting.
But his most prestigious client is the WBC champion of the world Tyson Fury. The Brit drafted in Duran’s experience and expertise for his world title shot against the outspoken Deontay Wilder last year and recalls the punishment Fury inflicted on the American amid swirling rumours of a third bout between the two.
He said: "I was looking at the other corner - I always look at the other corner. I had told Sugar Hill and Andy Lee they're going to be stopping the fight. Because the type of shots Deontay Wilder was getting causes what I would call long term damage - that's dementia pugilistica, punch drunk syndrome.
"They were stunning, stunning shots from Tyson. What Wilder's coach Mark Breland did was save his career and his mentality. The punches were deep and they were direct hits, like getting hit with a baseball bat. It's going to penetrate. Every time I see him hit guys I know it hurts, because they are the shots that penetrate deep."
As it stands we don’t know if we’ll see the mega match-up between Fury and Anthony Joshua this year, but when it does come to fruition, Stitch believes the pair will meet head on in the centre of the ring.
He added: "The probability of cuts is high for both fighters. Their faces are going to be damaged a little because of their style of fighting. Like I told Tyson, I always prepare for the worst-case scenario and the worst-case scenario is multiple cuts.
"I think they'll be toe to toe a lot. The way Tyson Fury fought Deontay Wilder, that's the best-case scenario for Joshua. Tyson was aggressive, he controlled the pace of that fight. AJ needs to be aggressive too to counter that and that would be the best-case scenario for him to match it up.
"The worst-case scenario for Joshua is if he ends up going backwards on the defensive - that is not going to be ideal for him."