Floyd Mayweather’s previously announced appearance for RIZIN 14 is off already, with the boxer claiming he only agreed to an exhibition match for a small audience of wealthy Japanese fans.
Well, that didn’t last long. Chalk one up for the naysayers. On Wednesday, retired boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced that he had no intention of taking a fight with RIZIN’s Tenshin Nasukawa. Or, more accurately, that he had only agreed to an exhibition match with the kickboxing sensation, in front of a small group of wealthy Japanese spectators.
The change of course started late Tuesday, when Mayweather deleted a post from his Instagram page showing him wearing a pair of official RIZIN gloves — once boxing mitt, and one 4oz MMA glove. By that point, something appeared to be in the works. Then came Mayweather’s lengthy statement on that same Instagram account that he was blindsided by the announcement of an official fight, despite being at a press conference announcing the match for RIZIN 14 in person.
“Now that I am back on U.S. soil after a long and disappointing trip to Tokyo, I now have the time to address you, my fans and the media in regard to the upcoming event on December 31st that was recently announced,” Mayweather began in his statement. “First and foremost, I want it to be clear that I, Floyd Mayweather, never agreed to an official bout with Tenshin Nasukawa. In fact (with all due respect) I have never heard of him until this recent trip to Japan. Ultimately, I was asked to participate in a 9 minute exhibition of 3 rounds with an opponent selected by the “Rizen Fighting Federation”. What I was originally informed of by Brent Johnson of “One Entertainment” was that this was to be an exhibition put on for a small group of wealthy spectators for a very large fee. This exhibition was previously arranged as a “Special Bout” purely for entertainment purposes with no intentions of being represented as an official fight card nor televised worldwide.”
The possibility of this being an exhibition bout is something we speculated on previously.
“Once I arrived to the press conference, my team and I were completely derailed by the new direction this event was going and we should have put a stop to it immediately,” Mayweather’s statement continued. “I want to sincerely apologize to my fans for the very misleading information that was announced during this press conference and I can assure you that I too was completely blindsided by the arrangements that were being made without my consent nor approval. For the sake of the several fans and attendees that flew in from all parts of the world to attend this past press conference, I was hesitant to create a huge disturbance by combating what was being said and for that I am truly sorry. I am a retired boxer that earns an unprecedented amount of money, globally, for appearances, speaking engagements and occasional small exhibitions.”
This will certainly result on some egg on the face of RIZIN officials, as the promotion saw press coverage from media outlets around the globe. It also leaves them without a main event for RIZIN 14 on New Year’s Eve. Meanwhile, though Mayweather had a agreed to an exhibition match, it’s apparent that will not be moving forward at this point.