Wouldn’t This be Nice? Tenshin Nasukawa is Itching to Kick Floyd Mayweather in the Head When They Meet in Their Exhibition Match on New Year’s Eve…
Floyd Mayweather makes the rules. The American fighter made that very clear when a journalist asked him why he wouldn’t agree to let exciting Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa kick in their exhibition fight. And if you’ve seen any highlights of the 20-year-old, you can see why. I wouldn’t want my 2019 to start by having to try and find my own head in the Saitama Super Arena.
‘Money’ has been at this a long time. As a promoter and a fighter, his own interests are going to be first and foremost. You don’t get a 50-0 unbeaten record without micro-managing everything. That’s why Mayweather hasn’t fought outside Nevada since 2005.
However, by the sounds of it, Tenshin doesn’t want to play ball. He’s explained that he wants to kick the American boxer at RIZIN 14 in Tokyo, and wouldn’t fans just love to see that happen?
Mayweather obviously has some respect for Nasukawa, because he was careful to stipulate that the result of this ‘exhibition’ won’t go on either man’s record. Obviously, Tenshin is going to go all in against the most high-profile opponent he’ll ever have faced. He explained (via Associated Press):
“I sensed no aura about him. He says such provocative stuff I feel like kicking him. He is the best so I can’t let my guard down. I’m sure his punches are fast but I’m sure I can see them. I feel excited, although some days I still feel afraid. But when the day comes, I want to fight with confidence.”
Maybe we can start a crowd funder so that if Tenshin does kick Mayweather in the head, and loses his purse it won’t matter. That’s a charity we can get behind.
On paper, it looks like Mayweather has all the advantages. He’s definitely the bigger man, with his preferred weight about 145-150lbs. In comparison, Nasukawa is basically a bantamweight in MMA terms. Furthermore, with straight boxing rules, you’d have to fancy Mayweather to dominate this bout.
However, the decision to make this exhibition last only three three-minute rounds might come back to haunt Mayweather. Typically, boxers fight 12 rounds, and will usually spend the first three or four feeling out, before stepping up the volume. Kickboxers fight fewer rounds at a much higher velocity. The pacing is totally different.
Tenshin has to pour it onto Mayweather from the start, using dynamic, aggressive combinations to try and overwhelm the traditional boxer, who may start slow. That’s his path to victory. And let’s be real, if Mayweather gets dropped, it doesn’t matter if it’s on his record or not. He’ll have lost.
RIZIN 14 looks set to be a very entertaining night of action. As well as the drama of the exhibition fight, there’s a genuine MMA super fight on the card as well. Bellator’s bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell is set to challenge Kyoji Horiguchi for the RIZIN Bantamweight title, in a fight that could be a genuine MMA gamechanger.
This could set a precedent for future big crossover fights between promotions. Imagine Micheal Chandler against Khabib or Ilina-Lei MacFarlane versus Rose Namajunas. Those are legitimately good fights and there’s plenty more out there.