By Keith Idec
If fight fans in the United States want to watch the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Tenshin Nasukawa bout December 31, it won’t be as expensive as usual to watch Mayweather perform.
Multiple sources have informed BoxingScene.com that Mayweather-Nasukawa won’t be distributed as the main event of a major pay-per-view show in the United States. The Mayweather-Nasukawa fight will take place late on a Monday night in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo, which is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 17 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.
A pay-per-view boxing event on a Monday morning in the United States isn’t saleable, certainly not at the price points of Mayweather’s Showtime Pay-Per-View appearances in recent years ($75-$100 in HD).
It also could be difficult to produce pay-per-view buys if Mayweather-Nasukawa is strictly a boxing match. The 20-year-old Nasukawa, while talented and successful, has competed at featherweight in kickboxing – five divisions below the weight class in which Mayweather stopped UFC superstar Conor McGregor in the 10th round of his last fight, a 154-pound boxing match in August 2017.
Mayweather is 21 years older than Nasukawa, but will own a significant size advantage over the Japanese sensation. Las Vegas’ Mayweather was noticeably taller than Nasukawa at a press conference Monday in Saitama.
The rules and weight limit for their fight haven’t been finalized, according to Mayweather and Nasukawa. Sources have indicated, however, that it likely will be strictly a boxing exhibition, perhaps as short as three rounds, in which case it wouldn’t count on Mayweather’s unblemished record (50-0, 27 KOs).
Nasukawa is 27-0, including 20 knockouts, in professional kickboxing. He also has gone 4-0 in mixed martial arts matches (two KOs, one submission).
Assuming Mayweather-Nasukawa isn’t distributed via pay-per-view in the United States, it’ll mark the first time Mayweather has fought in a non-pay-per-view event in the United States since he stopped Sharmba Mitchell in November 2005. The undefeated five-division champion’s sixth-round, technical-knockout victory over Mitchell aired live on HBO from The Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.
The Grand Rapids, Michigan, native became a pay-per-view star thanks to his split-decision victory over Oscar De La Hoya in May 2007. All told, he has been involved in pay-per-view events that have generated approximately 23.8 million buys and generated roughly $1.67 billion pay-per-view revenue.
It is possible, according to sources, that Showtime could air the Mayweather-Nasukawa fight live on that premium cable network.
A streaming service, ESPN+ or DAZN, also could attempt to purchase the U.S. rights to Mayweather-Nasukawa and stream it live to subscribers who pay monthly fees of $4.99 (ESPN+) or $9.99 (DAZN). Mayweather has remained loyal to Showtime since partnering with that network in February 2013, but the cost of the license fee likely will determine distribution of Mayweather-Nasukawa in the United States.
Mayweather-Nasukawa will air live on Fuji TV in Japan as part of promoter RIZIN Fighting Federation’s partnership with that prominent network.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.