Floyd Mayweather’s long-awaited UK debut fails to attract interest with the O2 Arena left virtually empty for the boxing legend’s exhibition against Aaron Chalmers. Despite the anticipation around Mayweather’s appearance in a UK ring, the fight failed to generate much interest or attention, as reflected by the attendance on the night.
Mayweather, a 50-0 former champion of the world, appeared to take the occasion very casually as he toyed with his opponent for much of the eight-round fight. The unbeaten American has engaged in a series of extremely lucrative exhibition fights since his retirement in 2017, which have largely taken place in the Middle East.
The ‘Royal Pain’ event was painfully delayed after a poor attendance at the start of proceedings, combined with reports of thousands of unsold tickets at the O2 Arena. The farcical feeling to the event was only enhanced further by the fact that the broadcasters did not appear to know that the fight was eight rounds, not six.
The lack of interest in the fight is part of a broader trend in boxing, as the sport faces a crossroads in terms of the number of exhibition fights taking place and the money on offer for such. Jake Paul, notable for his YouTube exploits, is set to fight Tommy Fury, a professional boxer, in Saudi Arabia on Sunday night.
The promoters tried to save face amid a distinct lack of appetite among the British boxing public for the fight, with a website called ShowFilmFirst, a known seat-filler site, attempting to flog tickets for as little as £4.95 just hours out from the bout. The broadcaster, Zeus TV, appeared to focus solely on the fighters during the ring walk, refusing to pan across to the crowd. It is not clear if this was in fear of showing the relatively empty arena.
Both fighters did not acknowledge the swathes of empty seats after the fight, with Mayweather himself in fact calling UK fans ‘unbelievable’. Chalmers, meanwhile, said that his experience would be one to tell the ‘grandkids.’
In conclusion, the long-awaited UK debut of Floyd Mayweather failed to drum up much interest among fans, with the O2 Arena left virtually empty for the exhibition bout against Aaron Chalmers. The poor attendance at the event reflects a broader trend in boxing, with the number of exhibition fights taking place and the money on offer for such being called into question. While the fighters put on a show for those who were in attendance, it is clear that the event was not the blockbuster many had hoped for.