The only thing Floyd Mayweather is better at than ducking a punch is swindling sports fans out of money.
So don’t be fooled by his latest stunt, announcing that he’s fighting 20-year-old kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in some kind of boxing match (presumably) on New Year’s Eve in Tokyo. Because it’s not something any smart sports fan actually wants to see, needs to see, or would even think twice about dropping any amount of money to see. For the sake of sanity and respect for the sport that’s made Mayweather a fortune, this boxing fan hopes everyone will opt out of paying attention to his latest farce of a fight and instead start showing some respect to the sweet science’s future stars.
But since this if Floyd we’re talking about, all he’s ever cared about is stealing the spotlight and the bottom line at the expense of his legacy and the public’s bullshit meter. So it makes perfect sense that he’s down to throw hands against somebody smaller and less accomplished at boxing than he is, somebody that 99 percent of American sports fans have never heard of. And still he’ll collect a fat paycheck.
“This particular bout is a special bout as far as we're giving the people something they've never seen before," Mayweather said.
I can’t think of anything more ridiculous than putting down a Benjamin, or really any amount of money, for someone way past his expiration date as an entertaining and relevant fighter.
It’s really not. It’s a tired formula Mayweather has practiced for a lot longer than many might realize. Pick an opponent way out of his league or past his prime, hype it up as something unique, and watch people fall for it. The most recent example, of course, was last summer’s Mayweather-McGregor blockbuster that boxing great Bernard Hopkins described to us as robbery.
Now, truth be told, Mayweather’s bout with Connor McGregor turned out to be a better fight than many expected. But the fact that it cost $100 to watch a novice boxer fight a then 40-year-old legend, whose speed and power have clearly diminished, was beyond absurd and insulting to the intelligence of sports fans—most especially boxing fans. Yet Mayweather got the last laugh, as he usually does, when approximately 4.3 million people purchased the fight and it was the second highest grossing boxing match of all time behind his 2015 showdown with Manny Pacquiao.
I just hope nobody falls for the charade this time around.
Details about the fight with Nasukawa haven’t been finalized, but it would be shocking if it didn’t end up on pay-per-view, and if it wasn’t strictly a boxing match, a la what we saw with McGregor. It will only be noteworthy if Mayweather somehow loses for the first time in his professional career, which is far-fetched considering oddsmakers have already installed him as a favorite (-260) in the match.
This fight is just the latest example of how Mayweather long ago ceased trying to take on the big guns in boxing’s premier division—welterweight—because he knew he couldn’t compete with the young lions. On one hand, that makes him smart that he’s been able to rake in the dough against inferior opponents, headlining B-level or C-level fights he knows he can win while preserving his perfect record and maintaining his standing as boxing’s biggest draw.
On the other hand, it makes him incredibly lame. He hasn’t taken a fight he knows he can’t win since maybe his first fight with Marcos Maidana in 2014 in an effort to preserve his undefeated record and grow his historic revenue streams. Over the past five years, if not longer, Mayweather’s became way more famous for his persona outside the ring than inside it. He’s undoubtedly one of the best boxers in modern history and one of, if not the, best defensive fighters ever. But Floyd is Floyd because he’s perpetually stuntin’ on social media, sitting courtside at NBA games, and always talking trash about someone he thinks is easy pickings. A boring fighter that’s obviously destined for Hall of Famer, Mayweather hasn’t really been challenged in years yet amazingly continues to convince networks and casual sports fans to pay attention to him and fork over big bucks for his bouts.
At some point, a fed up sports scene has to say enough is enough and just ignore somebody who clearly is desperate for attention and obsessed with cashing checks instead of, arguably, doing what’s best for boxing and fading to the background, i.e. living off the fortune he’s already amassed, and work on making his boxing promotion business a more respectable and successful outfit. Brett Favre is embarrassed how many times Mayweather has un-retired.
Listen, I know we’re guilty of promoting him here at Complex because Floyd’s personality is so outrageous, his life so preposterous that whatever he does and says gets clicks. That’s the business we’re in. We write way more about what he’s doing and saying outside of the ring than inside it and that’s my point. Just hang ‘em up, already and let the up and comers like Errol Spence, Terence Crawford, and Keith Thurman (if he can ever get healthy) lead the way for a great, but broken sport that’s slowly but surely improving its stature within the sports entertainment landscape.
As a boxing fan and someone who gets to write and cover some of the biggest fights, I can easily point out there a ton of other legitimate and entertaining matchups featuring interesting fighters to be made, watch, and write about before Mayweather-Nasukawa or Mayweather-Pacquiao II, rumored to be coming in 2019. Since boxing is its own worst enemy with its cesspool of politics—rarely giving fans what they want—Mayweather will continue to dominate headlines and the collective imaginations of casual sports fans that only check in on the sport once or twice a year as long as he wants to.
I just wish we collectively wouldn’t buy into the novelty of Mayweather as a now 41-year-old boxer. Once upon a time he was good for the sport. But I can’t think of anything more ridiculous than putting down a Benjamin, or really any amount of money, for someone way past his expiration date as an entertaining and relevant fighter.