Floyd Mayweather’s arrival to his unveiling as the new figurehead for a Japanese mixed martial arts promotion proved that no-matter what the event or the location, the outspoken boxer will always be box office.
The undefeated 41-year-old announced he was coming out of retirement again and will top the bill at the Rizin Fighting Federation’s next card on December 31, in a bout against a Japanese kickboxer with the rules yet to be determined.
Prior to yesterday’s news conference, Mayweather gave a select number of media interviews over the weekend, but the identity of Rizin’s marquee recruit for the Saitama event outside Tokyo had been kept under wraps.
So, with the logo for Mayweather’s ‘The Money Team’ brand ostentatiously emblazoned across the room, there was a palpable sense of intrigue ahead of the American’s late arrival.
When Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) finally appeared in front of the media in Tokyo, he was far more subdued than his noisy introduction, substituting his usual bravado with a serious business-like tone.
It seems for Mayweather, who won boxing world titles at five different weight divisions, this fight is about expanding his brand and business interests overseas.
“I wanted to do something different. I always wanted to display my skills outside the US and be in a special fight,” added Mayweather, who has fought every one of his professional bouts in the United States.
“I spoke with my team and with RIZIN and we put it together. I have fought in the US for all 50 of my fights. As a professional, I haven’t had a chance to go outside the US to display my skills and to display my talent for the world.”
Mayweather’s latest move comes as a major shock after he announced his second retirement following his knockout of UFC superstar Conor McGregor in a crossover boxing match last year.
Mayweather and his team said they were still in talks with Rizin over the rules and format of the fight, which should be “situated” in the coming weeks.
The identity of Mayweather’s opponent, Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa — a fighter half Floyd’s age — muddies the waters yet further.
Nasukawa competes in both MMA and kickboxing, and has won all four of his cage fights.