By Keith Idec
Floyd Mayweather Jr. didn’t need to make this transpacific trip.
Leonard Ellerbe stressed that point during a recent interview with ESNews. Ellerbe emphasized that Mayweather has made tremendous investments and receives a seven-figure check each month from those revenue sources.
The CEO of Mayweather Promotions can’t understand, though, why so many people have criticized the retired five-division champion for accepting an eight-figure appearance fee for his three-round boxing exhibition Monday against Japanese kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa.
“Serena Williams is doing an exhibition right now,” Ellerbe said, referring to one of the biggest stars in the history of women’s tennis. “You don’t really hear people knocking that. But again, like Floyd always says, like I said it, we really don’t care what people think. At the end of the day, the money’s in the bank. And when you go back and look at all the old-time fighters – I guarantee you right now, if you went to a guy like – and we know what kind of legacy Holyfield and Lennox Lewis and all these guys had, and you say, ‘Oh, if you wanna go and do an exhibition, and you can get an eight-figure purse doing it, you know, just moving around,’ what do you think they would say? What do you think Roy Jones would say? What do you think any of the greats would say? He’d be a damn fool not to go take it.”
The Mayweather-Nasukawa exhibition, which will take place in Saitama, Japan, won’t be broadcast live in the U.S. It’ll air live in Japan on Fuji TV as part of promoter RIZIN Fighting Federation’s partnership with that influential network.
Mayweather, 41, reportedly will be paid handsomely by RIZIN for fighting its 20-year-old star kickboxer/mixed martial artist. The contest won’t count on Mayweather’s record, however, and, seemingly by design, barely has been publicized outside of Japan.
This encounter also will mark the first time one of Mayweather’s matches won’t be televised either by HBO or Showtime, or the pay-per-view divisions of those networks, in more than 20 years.
“He’s excited to just go and have some fun,” Ellerbe said. “And, you know, that’s all it is. He’s gonna go over there and move around with the little kid, and you know, that’s all it is.”
Las Vegas’ Mayweather might come out of retirement for a boxing match that counts in 2019, perhaps a rematch with Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao. That’d require Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) to defeat Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) in their January 19 fight for Pacquiao’s WBA world welterweight title at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
For now, Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) is focused on out-performing Nasukawa in their exhibition at Saitama Super Arena.
“I’m very happy for him,” Ellerbe said, “that he’s in a position to take advantage of these opportunities at this point in his career, because he’s earned that. He’s earned that, and when you get in a situation where you can just go out there and you can just do an exhibition and you can make a substantial amount of money by doing that, hey, that’s a great thing.
“All the ones out there who hate on that, I guarantee you, you ask them if they were given the opportunity to be put in that situation, where they could go and make an enormous amount of money for something that they love to do and have had a tremendous amount of success doing, go get it.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.