Floyd Mayweather pursuing a big-money exhibition bout with a smaller Japanese foe is not news. But maybe his reason for doing so, this time, is news.
In 2018, “Money” earned a cool $9 million for a laughably easy contest against featherweight kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa at RIZIN Fighting Federation’s annual New Year’s Eve event. It took the welterweight just about two minutes to disassemble the 20-year-old boxing novice– and it set the future Hall of Famer on a quest to find similar soft touches.
Now, rumors abound that Mayweather is close to signing on for another easy payday.
According to media reports, the five-division former world champ is close to signing on for an exhibition bout against former super featherweight world champ Takashi Uchiyama.
RIZIN president Nobuyuki Sakakibara is already lubing up the press for the possible promotion.
“Mayweather vs Takashi Uchiyama is the most exciting,” Sakakibara told Japanese media. “There are various problems such as immigration, opponents, money, etc…But communication with the person is progressing positively. I expect the possibility.”
Standing in the way are the realities presented by the current Covid-19 sports shutdown. Aside from Mayweather not being physically able to meet with organizers, there are also plenty of health and safety issues to hammer out before things can be finalized.
Uchiyama is a former 130 lb. champ from Tokyo with an 11-2-1 record in world title bouts. He retired in 2016 following consecutive losses to Jezzrel Corrales. He’ll, no doubt, present a more complicated challenge than Mayweather’s previous Japanese foe. However, he’ll still be at a distinct size disadvantage and will probably be defeated decisively.
But there’s a story behind the story when it comes to Mayweather-Uchiyama.
Could Mayweather be pursuing an exhibition bout, while in the midst of a raging pandemic, because he really, truly needs some paydays?
According to a report issued earlier this month, Mayweather applied for a pandemic relief loan from the U.S. government for his “Mayweather Promotions” company. The exact amount was undisclosed, but it fell into the $350,000 – $1 million range. And this is an odd move for someone supposedly filthy with cash. Strange for someone who Forbes estimated to have earned $915 million over the decade.
Could it be that Mayweather is more strapped for cash than he lets on? Could it be that this sports shutdown– and the subsequent shutdown of all revenue streams for him– is taking its toll? Maybe he sees a thinning fortune that needs to be fattened back up.
It’s possible, too, that this Uchiyama fight talk is all nonsense. Or maybe it’s not nonsense, but it’s nothing more than a willingness to add some easy money when the opportunity presents itself.
Applying for a relatively small emergency loan after just a few months of downtime, however, does make one wonder. Could we be seeing the fall of the Mayweather house of money? If so, expect some more of these exhibitions and, possibly, a full return to the ring for the 43-year-old. Stay tuned.