Floyd Mayweather vs. Tenshin Nasukawa is OFF
By Allan Fox: Floyd Mayweather Jr. posted on social media today appearing to say that his December 31 exhibition fight against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa is off. Mayweather states he never fully agreed to the fight, it was intended for a group of wealthy spectators and it was supposed a three-round exhibition of nine minutes in total.
Mayweather was supposed to face the 20-year-old Nasukawa on New Year’s Eve on December 31 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. This is a stadium that seats 37,000. There were never any rules announced for the fight, as well as the rounds, gloves, broadcaster and how big Mayweather’s purse was going to be.
What’s interesting is that Mayweather took part in news conference with Nasukawa last Sunday. Despite that, Mayweather still says he never agreed to an “official bout” against the little known 20-year-old Nasukawa. Mayweather says he never heard of the Japanese fighter until he made the trip to Japan. The boxing public had never hear of the Japanese fighter either until the news of Mayweather fighting him came out last Sunday.
Floyd says he was asked to fight in a nine-minute exhibition bout for the entertainment of a group of wealthy viewers, and he would be getting a large fee for the work.
Here’s Mayeather’s statement on him canceling his December 31 fight against Nasukawa:
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Now that I am back on U.S. soil after a long and disappointing trip to Tokyo, I now have the time to address you, my fans and the media in regards to the upcoming event on December 31st that was recently announced. First and foremost, I want it to be clear that I, Floyd Mayweather, never agreed to an official bout with Tenshin Nasukawa. In fact (with all due respect) I have never heard of him until this recent trip to Japan. Ultimately, I was asked to participate in a 9 minute exhibition of 3 rounds with an opponent selected by the "Rizen Fighting Federation". What I was originally informed of by Brent Johnson of "One Entertainment" was that this was to be an exhibition put on for a small group of wealthy spectators for a very large fee. This exhibition was previously arranged as a "Special Bout" purely for entertainment purposes with no intentions of being represented as an official fight card nor televised worldwide. Once I arrived to the press conference, my team and I were completely derailed by the new direction this event was going and we should have put a stop to it immediately. I want to sincerely apologize to my fans for the very misleading information that was announced during this press conference and I can assure you that I too was completely blindsided by the arrangements that were being made without my consent nor approval. For the sake of the several fans and attendees that flew in from all parts of the world to attend this past press conference, I was hesitant to create a huge disturbance by combating what was being said and for that I am truly sorry. I am a retired boxer that earns an unprecedented amount of money, globally, for appearances, speaking engagements and occasional small exhibitions.
There’s all kinds of speculation in social media about why Mayweather is only now saying the December 31 fight is off. Some boxing fans think Mayweather took a good look at video of the young 20-year-old Nasukawa kid and decided it would be a bad idea to get inside the ring with him for any amount of money or rounds. Other fans wonder the money was there for the fight. If Mayweather wasn’t going to make good money fighting Nasukawa, then it certainly wasn’t going to be worth the trouble.
Last year, Mayweather returned from a 2-year absence from the ring to face UFC fighter Conor McGregor in a boxing event in August 2017. Mayweather ended up walking down McGregor in stopping him in the 10th after controlling virtually the entire fight. The only good thing that can be said about the Mayweather-McGregor fight is it made a lot of money in bringing in 4.4 million PPV buys, which made it the second most successful fight on pay-per-view in the history of combat sports.
Before Mayweather’s December 31 fight was announced last Sunday, he had spoken to the boxing media about fighting WBA ‘regular’ welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao in a rematch in December. Mayweather then said that the fight with Pacquiao won’t take place until early 2019. Pacquiao will be fighting Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner in January of next year.
It came out of left field when Mayweather took part in a news conference last Sunday to announce a December 31 fight against the much smaller 5’4″ Japanese kickboxer Sasukawa (27-0) in Japan. Mayweather would have had close to a 30 lb weight advantage over Sasukawa. Even if the fight had taken place under the kickboxing rules, it’s hard to imagine Sasukawa being able to last long due to Mayweather’s superior hand skills. A lot of the kickboxing fights are won by punching, not kicking, and Mayweather would have been all over the much smaller Sasukawa.
Had Mayweather gone ahead with the fight against Sasugawa it would have been next to impossible for him to get the U.S boxing and MMA public in paying to see the spectacle.
In hindsight, this all seemed poorly planned and thrown together from the get go. Few details were given at the news conference last Sunday, and Mayweather looked confused, as if he didn’t know what was going on. He didn’t look mentally engaged with what was taking place. It’s unclear whether it was a language barrier or what. To have a press conference take place without an agreement in place for the fight, it just seems mind-boggling.
There were rumors that was circulating this week about Mayweather getting $88 million for the December 31 fight, but it’s unlikely this had any truth in it. That would be an incredible amount of money for Mayweather to make for a three-round exhibition fight.