People have been a little skeptical that he would really fight against Tenshin Nasukawa on New Year’s Eve.
But here he is. He’s at least arrived in Japan.
Two days before the Rizin 14 event at Saitama Super Arena, former five-division world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. said that he does not worry about three rounds of fighting, adding that he can do that “in my sleep” and he’d just “be Floyd Mayweather.”
“I don’t worry about anything,” Mayweather said at a Tokyo news conference on Saturday. “I don’t have to train for three rounds. As far as in the sport of contact sports, I’ve seen everything throughout my career.”
The 41-year-old will square off against Nasukawa, in a special boxing exhibition fight in the Rizin 14 mixed martial arts event at Saitama Super Arena on New Year’s Eve.
Asked what he’d think of facing a non-boxer like Nasukawa in two days, Mayweather responded by saying, “It’s just another day.”
“It’s just another day. Another day like I wake up, take shower, put my clothes on…,” he said. “Just fighting is something I’ve done for over 30 years, so it’s just another day. I worry about entertaining and things, but once the bell rings, it’s always entertainment. So it is about having fun, going out there and doing my best.”
Meanwhile, Nasukawa looked calm before the big match, displaying growing confidence that he’s ready to take on the retired boxing superstar.
“I believe the fight will happen,” Nasukawa said hours before the Mayweather interview session, referring to many people’s doubts about the bout taking place because of Mayweather. “And I’ll just perform to my 100 percent. I’ve been one that’s essentially accepted challenges, but this time I’m a challenger. And I have no problem mentally.”
The Chiba Prefecture native said that he would like to land a big blow on Mayweather. Responding to that, Mayweather insisted that he has fought against some of the world’s best in his sport in his long professional career of more than 20 years.
“Throughout my career in boxing, as far as amateur, as far as professional, I never touched the canvas once,” he said. “If you look at my record, my career, (Manny) Pacquiao, he’s a huge puncher. Miguel Cotto, (Juan Manuel) Marquez. The list goes on and on, about so many different fighters with (an) iron face. I don’t really worry about that (being knocked down by Nasukawa).
“I mean, I’m sure he’s taking this fight extremely serious, he’s working out at this gym. (But) it’s just another day. I don’t have to work hard for three rounds. I can basically do three rounds in my sleep. So I don’t worry about that.”
The bout will be held at a 66.7-kg weight limit as agreed upon in the contract, although the Japanese is likely to fight at a weight that is much lighter than the limit.
Nasukawa jokingly said that he would like to launch a kick to Mayweather, which won’t be allowed. But in case the kickboxer did, Mayweather’s manager Brad Johnson revealed that there is a “penalty clause” in the contract if he uses any moves of MMA nature. He added that the fight would be contested “in the boxing standard.”
In early November, Rizin organizers announced the matchup at a news conference in Japan with both fighters in attendance. But a few days later, Mayweather said on his Instagram account that the fight was not going to happen , claiming the event was not what he thought it would be. He added that he thought it would just be an exhibition event meant to be staged before an audience of wealthy spectators.
But after negotiations between the organizers and the Mayweather side, Mayweather agreed to fight against Nasukawa in an exhibition on Dec. 31.
A total of 14 bouts are slated for the event, with Mayweather and Nasukawa set to fight last.