Fans shouldn't expect much from Floyd Mayweather's next fight, but that doesn't mean it won't be worth their time

Combat columnist
Yahoo Sports
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (L) and Tenshin Nasukawa pose during a news conference at the Mayweather Boxing Club on Thursday. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (L) and Tenshin Nasukawa pose during a news conference at the Mayweather Boxing Club on Thursday. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

If you get the difference between seven-figure fights and nine-figure fights, you then get that Floyd Mayweather isn’t ending his retirement even though he plans to box in Japan on New Year’s Eve.

Mayweather and kickboxing sensation Tenshin Nasukawa held a news conference Thursday at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas to announce that they would box a three-round exhibition on RIZIN’s annual New Year’s Eve event at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

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The fight will be three, three-minute rounds under boxing rules, though there will be no judges and the fight won’t count on anyone’s records. Mayweather spoke of providing entertainment, though it’s hard to understand exactly how it will be entertaining watching a full-fledged welterweight like Mayweather fight a guy who has never boxed and is more than 20 pounds lighter.

But for doing that, Mayweather said he is going to get several million dollars.

“Why should [the fans] watch?” Mayweather said, repeating a question. “If they watch, they watch. If they don’t, they don’t. It doesn’t matter to me. My money’s always guaranteed. Remember, I work smarter, not harder.”

When he was told he’s been criticized for the fight, he said that when someone has accomplished what he has in the sport, then they have the right to talk.

What this sounds like, pretty much, is that RIZIN is trying to showcase Nasukawa, who is an excellent kickboxer, and is paying Mayweather a few million to use his name to help accomplish that.

Otherwise, there seems to be next to no reason to watch unless you’re interested in the other fights RIZIN will show that night. But to watch Mayweather-Nasukawa? Nah. That goes in the waste of time container.

It’s the second time in a row that Mayweather has faced someone making his pro boxing debut. In 2017, he made more than $200 million to fight UFC superstar Conor McGregor in a boxing match that counted. McGregor, who was making his pro boxing debut, was stopped in the 10th round.

Now, Mayweather will face Nasukawa, who was dwarfed by Mayweather even though Mayweather isn’t a particularly big welterweight.

Here’s the thing: If you love boxing, don’t hate on Mayweather for doing this. Fighters risk their lives, often for little money. There were 12 fighters on the undercard of the recent MMA fight between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz who were guaranteed $2,500 or less to show up to fight.

The fighters at the bottom of the cards in a lot of the big boxing shows also make precious little money, but the punishment they take is very real, with very lasting consequences.

So, when a boxer is paid several million dollars to face next-to-no risk, how can one complain?

Good for him.

Now, we don’t have to watch. I’m not suggesting a boycott, only saying that Mayweather is treating it as just another sparring session, and so should you. If the idea of seeing Mayweather in a ring with gloves on his hands excites you, for sure, watch it.

But if you’re the type who prefers competitive, serious matches, this may not be for you.

“I’m in the entertainment business,” Mayweather said. “That’s what I go out there to do. I love to do this. I’m working out to put on a show for three rounds. I’m going to go out there, have fun and do what I do. I’m enjoying life and I’m going to enjoy this experience.”

It’s not a big deal. It’s not going to change the world. It’s not going to set back boxing 50 years, nor alter its history.

Watch if you are interested, pass if you’re not. But don’t spend much time worrying about it, because it’s not worth the energy.

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