Floyd Mayweather has said that the Rizin 14 bout against Tenshin Nasukawa is back on.
The retired American boxer originally stunned the media and fans alike when he attended a press conference in Tokyo, Japan earlier this month to confirm a December 31 show at the 37,000-capacity Saitama Super Arena in Saitama against unbeaten kickboxer Nasukawa.
The New Year’s Eve event captivated the combat sports world. Even Mayweather’s former opponent Conor McGregor, whom he beat in a 10th round stoppage in his last fight in 2017, said the match-up is “like something out of Rush Hour 5.”
But the Rizin 14 main event seemingly disappeared as quickly as it materialised, as within hours of Mayweather landing back on American soil, he backtracked on the apparent deal. “I was completely blindsided,” he wrote earlier this month.
Now, he says the “fight” is back. “It’s going to be the highest-paid exhibition ever,” Mayweather told TMZ Sports on Thursday.
However, he confirmed that the bout is not a real fight.
Instead, it’s set to be a glorified sparring session for three, three minute rounds. There will be no kicking, as the exhibition will be fought using boxing rules. It will therefore not be included on Mayweather or Nasukawa’s record.
“Not no official fight,” Mayweather said. “Exhibition. Small, nine-minute exhibition.”
Regardless, it is going to make Mayweather even richer. “It’s going to be the highest paid exhibition ever,” he said. “Just for promoting this event, so far, I’ve made seven figures. Just talking about the event, I’ve already made crazy money.”
Mayweather has attracted criticism over the way the Rizin 14 show has been handled. Not least because it was reportedly canceled shortly after it had seemingly been arranged, but also because Nasukawa weighs 125 pounds — 29 pounds lighter than Mayweather’s fighting weight of 154 pounds.
“Everybody talking about I’m fighting a small guy, people don’t understand… ‘Floyd fight him because he needs money,’ it’s more like this… Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah [Winfrey], they still go out there and do different things and get paid finanically great. I got a ton of money.”
A fight between a boxer like Mayweather and a mixed martial artist in Nasukawa needs rules.
He went on: “It’s just a little boxing exhibition, no kicking, I’m moving around with the guy for nine minutes.
“It’s going to be the highest paid exhibition ever. Mayweather Promotions/Rizin. We’re going to make it happen.”