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Mayweather’s RIZIN flirtation a bizarre move

Even for Floyd Mayweather, this was strange.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

OK, you might want to re-think your New Year’s Eve plans, if you are a fight fan in Japan. After making news Sunday night that he’d be getting back into the fighting life Dec. 31 in Tokyo, three days later, Floyd Mayweather has done an about face.

“Money” took to Instagram to throw cold water on the plan announced in concert with the RIZIN MMA organization. He was going to fight Tenshin Nasukawa, with a rules set to be announced. Fan raction was, to be polite, mixed. People noted that Nasukawa is a kick boxer, and a small one at that. Floyd walks around at 160 and the Japanese fighter at maybe 138. This had mismatch written all over it, and many took to social media to wonder if the fight would be scripted. Floyd said at the RIZIN presser he liked the organization and would be paid handsomely, but in the following IG post, he back-tracks harder than he ever has in a ring.

“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 regards to the upcoming event on December 31st that was recently announced. First and foremost, I want it to be clear that I, Floyd Mayweather, never agreed to an official bout with Tenshin Nasukawa,” Mayweather wrote, though he said he agreed to that at the Sunday press conference.

“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.”

Again, that message wasn’t even hinted at while Mayweather and the RIZIN boss and Johnson spoke, and video was shown of his opponent to be.

“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. 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.”

So, yes, this is a bizarre move, an abrupt about face, and we have to wonder how the hell we got to here from there. Did Floyd react to the harsh blowback from people saying they had no interest in watching this bout? Buyer’s remorse? Bottom line, as per usual, Floyd is keeping it interesting. But this chapter stands out for its strangeness.

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