May­weather says will hold ex­hi­bi­tion with Ja­panese star

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - SPORTS - BOX­ING

LAS VE­GAS: Floyd May­weather says he and Ja­panese kick­box­ing star Ten­shin Na­sukawa will meet af­ter all – but only in a nine-minute New Year’s Eve ex­hi­bi­tion.

May­weather said the match in Tokyo would be for en­ter­tain­ment pur­poses only, with no judges, no of­fi­cial record – and no kick­ing.

“I’m in the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness. That’s what I go out there to do,” May­weather said Thurs­day at his Las Ve­gas gym.

“I love to do this. I’m work­ing out to put on a show for three rounds.”

Na­sukawa joined May­weather at his gym to an­nounce the ex­hi­bi­tion, which will be box­ing only and take place at Saitama Su­per Arena in sub­ur­ban Tokyo on Dec. 31.

It was the sec­ond an­nounce­ment for the event, which was pro­moted as an ac­tual fight when an­nounced last month, though the rules were un­clear. May­weather ap­peared at a news con­fer­ence in Tokyo, where he talked about the chal­lenge of tak­ing on a young kick­box­ing cham­pion.

A few days later, May­weather is­sued a state­ment af­ter re­turn­ing to the U.S. say­ing he was “blind­sided” by Ja­panese of­fi­cials and never in­tended to have an ac­tual fight with Na­sukawa.

“First and fore­most, I want it to be clear that I, Floyd May­weather, never agreed to an of­fi­cial bout with Ten­shin Na­sukawa,” May­weather said, go­ing on to de­scribe him­self as a re­tired boxer who earned money mak­ing ap­pear­ances and putting on ex­hi­bi­tions for what he said were large sums of money.

Nobuyuki Sakak­ibara, the head of Rizin Fight­ing Fed­er­a­tion, which is putting on the three-round ex­hi­bi­tion, told re­porters in Ja­pan last month that ne­go­ti­a­tions were on­go­ing to stage the event de­spite the 41-year-old May­weather’s ap­par­ent re­luc­tance.

He said at the time that spec­ta­tors would see more than mere “ca­sual spar­ring” and that the 20year-old Na­sukawa would have the op­por­tu­nity to knock May­weather out de­spite the fight be­ing billed as an ex­hi­bi­tion.

“We don’t want peo­ple to think this is some half-hearted play­ing around,” Sakak­ibara said.

And while May­weather talked about pro­vid­ing some en­ter­tain­ment in the three-round event, Na­sukawa sounded a bit more se­ri­ous about it. “I’m go­ing to use my weapons against him,” he said through an in­ter­preter.

May­weather ear­lier also an­nounced plans to fight Manny Pac­quiao in De­cem­ber.

That fight never went past the talk­ing stage, and May­weather claimed once again last month that he was re­tired and has no in­ten­tion of hav­ing an ac­tual fight again. –

May­weather and Na­sukawa will hold a nine-minute New Year’s Eve ex­hi­bi­tion.

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