The YouTuber-turned-boxer was dominated by the former five-weight world champion in Sunday night’s eagerly anticipated celebrity clash at Hard Rock Stadium, but, with no judges at ringside to score, the official rules stipulated that no result would be declared if the bout went the distance.
Only a knockout, stoppage or disqualification would therefore have secured a win, but Mayweather - now 44 and coming out of retirement to contest a money-spinning exhibition for the third time - could not achieve it despite his best efforts, with Paul’s significant size and weight advantages helping him to last all of the scheduled eight rounds as he weathered some big punches and resiliently clung on to the final bell.
Despite being predictably outclassed in terms of performance, the result was nevertheless a major boost for Paul - whose only pro bout to date ended in defeat against KSI in 2019 - and will no doubt be used in future as a retort to the sport’s purists who feel that YouTubers and celebrities simply do not belong in a professional boxing ring.
“He’s a great young fighter, strong and tough. He’s better than I thought he was,” Mayweather admitted afterwards.
“It was good action, we had fun. I’m surprised by him tonight - good guy.
“I fought against a heavyweight and I had fun, even though he hasn’t got much experience, he wanted to use his weight and tie me up tonight.
“I had fun, I’m pretty sure he had fun. Hopefully the fans enjoyed it.”
A euphoric Paul - who teased the potential of a rematch - said: “I don’t want anyone to tell me anything is impossible ever again.
“The fact that I’m in here with one of the greatest boxers of all time proves that the odds can be beaten.
“This is one of the greatest moments of my life.”
On Sunday night’s undercard, former two-weight world champion Badou Jack eased to a fourth-round stoppage victory over hopelessly overmatched late replacement opponent Dervin Colina of Venezuela, who was knocked down three times and had two points deducted for relentless holding.
There was a big upset as former unified super-welterweight world champion Jarrett Hurd lost a split-decision against Luis Arias after an absorbing, bloody 10-round war.
In another exhibition, former NFL star Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson went the distance against MMA and Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship competitor Brian Maxwell, with no winner declared as in the main event.