More Sports / Boxing

Floyd Mayweather Jr. looks to expand brand in Japan

by Kaz Nagatsuka

Staff Writer

Floyd Mayweather says he doesn’t really miss fighting yet and is looking forward to expanding his brand through business.

The former five-division and 12-time boxing world champion is currently visiting Japan to form “TMT Tokyo” and establish a partnership between his newly-announced Mayweather Holdings, Japan’s Kyoei boxing gym and Japanese management company Libera.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Mayweather described a wide range of business fields including luxury car sales and the operation of nightclubs, boxing gyms and casinos.

Mayweather said the casino operation, made possible through a bill passed by the Diet in July which legalized casinos in the country, would be the “major player” for his Japan operation. He described Tokyo as an “untouched market” when explaining why he chose the metropolis as his latest business destination.

But of course, both fans and media remain focused on the 41-year-old American’s reputation as a boxer rather than as a businessman.

Mayweather, who declared his retirement after improving his professional record to 50-0 (27 knockouts) with a win over UFC champion Connor McGregor in a boxing match on Aug. 26, 2017, claimed he doesn’t “really miss boxing” but didn’t dismiss the idea of putting on his gloves again.

Coincidentally, he and rival Manny Pacquiao happened to encounter each other at a music event in Tokyo on Saturday. Both fighters posted videos of the meeting to their respective Instagram accounts, with Mayweather writing: “I’m coming back to fight Manny Pacquiao this year. Another 9 figure pay day on the way.”

In their May 2015 bout in Las Vegas, which was billed “The Fight of the Century,” Mayweather won by a unanimous decision. It reportedly generated over $500 million in revenue.

On Monday, Mayweather chose his words carefully when describing the meeting.

“The other day, me and Pacquiao actually had a run-in, but we don’t really know what can happen,” Mayweather admitted, adding that he would discuss any potential rematch with his management team after returning to the United States.

“Maybe we can do the fight in Tokyo,” he later suggested. Mayweather has never fought outside the U.S. and would require a license from the country’s boxing commission in order to fight in Japan.

Meanwhile, his Japanese business partners were thrilled with the opportunity to work with the undefeated former champion.

Kyoei chairman Keiichiro Kanehira declared the impact of Mayweather coming to Japan the “equivalent” of Muhammad Ali’s visits to the country, first in a fight against Mac Foster at Nippon Budokan in 1972, and then against professional wrestler Antonio Inoki in a famous “special rule” match in 1976 at the same venue.

Kameda brothers Koki, Daiki and Tomoki also attended the news conference. Eldest sibling Koki expressed his hopes that a collaboration with Mayweather will increase the sport’s local popularity.

“When you look around at today’s boxing scene in Japan, it’s difficult to make a lot of money,” said Koki, a former three-division world champion. “But we want to create a situation in which that can be achieved when you become a world champion.”

Mayweather expects his next visit to Japan to happen sooner rather than later. He told those present during the news conference that he plans to return next month for business purposes.