May­weather takes hit for The Money Team

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - SPORTS - BOX­ING

It looked like easy money, and there’s no one more qual­i­fied to judge that than the founder and tit­u­lar head of The Money Team.

But some­times chas­ing a pile of cash is more dif­fi­cult than it seems.

Floyd May­weather Jr. found that out when he went look­ing for money in Ja­pan. The deal, or so he thought, was to per­form a three­r­ound ex­hi­bi­tion be­fore what he said was a small group of wealthy spec­ta­tors for “a very large fee.”

Turns out May­weather got hood­winked. And then he quickly got out of town.

He wanted no part of a ris­ing young Ja­panese kick­box­ing star, even though he out­weighed Ten­shin Na­sukawa by 30 pounds.

A guy could get hurt in a real fight, es­pe­cially if the rules weren’t all in his fa­vor.

The prob­lem was, May­weather had ap­peared at a news con­fer­ence Mon­day in Tokyo in which the fight was an­nounced. He posed for pic­tures with Na­sukawa, and talked about how their New Year’s Eve bout would be an epic event. So he had to backpedal. And fast. May­weather said he was blind­sided by pro­mot­ers at the news con­fer­ence and went along when they said the fight was sched­uled, with the rules to be fig­ured out later.

He said he didn’t even know who Na­sukawa was.

Fair enough. But Google is avail­able in Ja­pan, and it didn’t take May­weather long to find out a few things about his op­po­nent.

Or maybe he just read an In­sta­gram post from Joe Ro­gan, the UFC fight an­nouncer who knew a lit­tle more about Na­sukawa.

“He’s a true strik­ing ge­nius,” Ro­gan said of the 20-year-old.

“I doubt Floyd is go­ing to agree to any rules that al­low Ten­shin to kick, but if he does, it could be a ter­ri­ble night for him. This kid is the truth.”

What­ever it was, May­weather left Ja­pan as fast as he could.

And, re­ally, who could blame May­weather. He’s made a ca­reer – and made him­self im­mensely wealthy – out of pick­ing just the right op­po­nent at the right time and this wasn’t the op­po­nent or the time to get back in the ring.

But in do­ing so he may have dam­aged his brand, if just a bit.

May­weather doesn’t do con­tri­tion well, but con­trite he was in a lengthy post that didn’t ex­actly cast him in a fa­vor­able light.

“I am a re­tired boxer that earns an un­prece­dented amount of money, glob­ally, for ap­pear­ances, speak­ing en­gage­ments and oc­ca­sional small ex­hi­bi­tions,” May­weather wrote.

If that’s so, then per­haps Manny Pac­quiao bet­ter go look­ing for an­other op­po­nent for his next fight.

Ac­tu­ally, Pac­quiao al­ready has, with plans to fight Adrien Broner in Jan­uary. Still there’s a good chance the two could meet in May in Las Ve­gas in a re­match of their first fight.

By then they might have made enough box­ing fans for­get what a snoozer the first fight was to pay big money for a re­match be­tween two 40-some­thing box­ers.

With May­weather, it’s any­one’s guess. He al­ready an­nounced the Pac­quiao fight for De­cem­ber, you might re­mem­ber, though it will not hap­pen then.

And now he claims he’s just an old re­tired boxer try­ing to make a lit­tle spend­ing money by giv­ing speeches and small ex­hi­bi­tions.

Who’s go­ing to pay big money to see that? It’s hard to ar­gue with what May­weather has done in a ca­reer more spec­tac­u­lar for the amount of money he’s made than the epic fights he’s been in.

He turned him­self into a mar­ket­ing phe­nom­e­non be­gin­ning with his 2007 fight with Os­car De La Hoya, and has made more money than even he can count.

He also conned peo­ple into be­liev­ing his fight with UFC fighter Conor Mc­Gre­gor was a le­git­i­mate match, be­fore eas­ily dis­patch­ing him in his last lu­cra­tive ex­hi­bi­tion.

But the May­weather brand is get­ting old, and so is his ap­peal.

He’s re­duced to be­ing the “op­po­nent” in fights like the one he was plan­ning in Ja­pan and even his syco­phants have to be get­ting the idea by now that they’re be­ing played.

A sec­ond fight with Pac­quiao holds lit­tle in­trigue af­ter the dull af­fair the two put on in 2015.

Like the pro­posed fight in Ja­pan it’s strictly a money grab by the founder of The Money Team.

In the end, May­weather couldn’t run fast enough from a young op­po­nent in Ja­pan. We should all think about run­ning if his next news con­fer­ence is to an­nounce a fight with Pac­quiao. –

Na­sukawa poses dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Tokyo to an­nounce his fight with May­weather Jr. Mon­day.

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