John Locher/Associated Press
Middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez said the lucrative fights involving famed YouTube personalities Logan Paul and Jake Paul show a “lack of respect” for the sport of boxing.
Alvarez told TMZ Sports in an interview released Saturday the series of bouts, including Jake’s victory over former NBA guard Nate Robinson and Logan’s upcoming exhibition against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in February, aren’t of interest to him and he wouldn’t accept an offer to take part.
“No,” Alvarez said. “I truly believe that it’s a lack of respect. It’s all based on money. It’s all for money. I’m focused right now on other projects. I have other stuff going on, and I would invite him for a sparring session so that he truly knows what it’s all about.”
He added: “For true fighters, I do believe it is a lack of respect.”
Alvarez explained there’s an inherent risk any time somebody steps in the ring, but there’s a difference between someone who has trained their entire life and somebody looking to capitalize financially.
“Ya know, it’s all about the money,” he told TMZ. “I don’t think we would agree that people that are basketball players, that are YouTubers get [boxing] licenses. Ya know, I don’t criticize [the Paul brothers]. This is a very risky sport, and if you go up there, it’s very risky.”
The Paul brothers started small with matchups against fellow YouTubers in their pro debuts. Logan lost by split decision to Olajide “KSI” Olatunji in November, while Jake defeated Ali “AnEsonGib” Al-Fakhri by first-round knockout in January.
Jake received a spot on the undercard of the exhibition between former champions Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. last month, and his brutal knockout of Robinson, who was making his debut, went viral.
The brothers are now trying to capitalize by challenging some of the biggest names. While Logan locked in an exhibition bout with Mayweather, one of the greatest boxers in history, Jake is trying to coerce UFC superstar Conor McGregor back into the boxing world.
Jake posted a video earlier this week suggesting his team offered $50 million to McGregor just to sign on the dotted line, per TMZ.
“My team sent you a $50 million offer this morning—$50 million cash, proof of funds, the biggest fight offer you’ve ever been offered,” he said. “But you’re scared to fight me, Conor! You’re ducking me because you don’t wanna lose to a f–king YouTuber. You’re 0-1 as a boxer. I’m 2-0 as a boxer.”
McGregor lost to Mayweather in August 2017. He’s scheduled for a UFC rematch with Dustin Poirier in late January, so any clash with Paul probably wouldn’t happen until the spring or summer.
All told, it’s not the best sign for the state of boxing when the fighters making the most headlines lately are a pair of former champs over the age of 50—Tyson and Jones—and brothers from YouTube.
There are still plenty of terrific boxers out there, but the sport could use some fresh star power to emerge to replace the likes of Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, who could generate mainstream interest and massive revenue every time they stepped in the ring.
Alvarez is one of the few fighters who still possesses that type of widespread appeal.