- Floyd Mayweather is un-retiring, again, to face japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa at Rizin 14.
- Two online betting sites have posted early odds and they are drastically different.
- The rules for the fight are TBD, but expect something closer to boxing than MMA.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather (50-0 as a professional boxer) is returning to the fight game, announcing that he’ll take on 20-year-old Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa (27-0 kickboxing; 4-0 MMA) at Rizin 14 on Dec. 31st, 2018, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
The pair have not stated what the rules of the bout will be.
Lots of questions not answered at that Mayweather-Nasukawa presser, such as:
Where it will air
How much it will cost
Who’s paying Floyd
Is this an “exhibition”
Those are the major ones.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 5, 2018
But that hasn’t stopped two online sportsbooks from putting out early odds.
As you can see below, the respective oddsmakers at the sites have different takes on what the parameters of the fight are likely to be.
Mayweather vs Nasukawa Opening Fight Odds
|Fighter||Odds at Book 1||Odds at Book 2|
*Odds from Nov. 6, 2018.
The only way the Japanese fighter should be favored is if the fight involves kicks and/or grappling. He’s considerably smaller than Mayweather, and Money is one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the history of the sport. Even at the ripe old age of 41, Mayweather would be a massive favorite in a boxing match with a 20-year-old kickboxer, especially one he has three inches on.
Tale of the Tape: Mayweather vs Nasukawa
|5’8 (173 cm)||HEIGHT||5’5 (165 cm)|
|72 in. (183 cm)||REACH||Undisclosed|
|149.5 lbs (67.8 kg)||LAST FIGHTING WEIGHT||125.6 lbs (57 kg)|
But as soon as you allow kicking or clinching or submissions, the script completely flips. Mayweather’s nearly impenetrable defense would count for little if Nasukawa can simply target his wide-open lower half.
SBD’s Mayweather vs Nasukawa Fight Odds
|Style of Fight||Who Should Be Favored?||At What Odds?|
The pair will work out the details of the fight soon enough. But there is value on one of the available wagers right now if you can sort out what the rules of the fight are likely to be.
Based on available information, which is admittedly limited, the most likely scenario is that this fight is basically a boxing match but with four or six-ounce MMA gloves.
As hard as it is to see Nasukawa agreeing to fight without his biggest advantage (his legs), note this quote from the 20-year-old (emphasis added):
Nobody has defeated my opponent in the past. And I would like to be the man who makes history. My punch can change the history and I will show that to you, so please stay tuned. — Tenshin Nasukawa on his upcoming fight against 50-0 Floyd Mayweather
He expressly refers to his punch making history, not his kick. That signals something akin to boxing rules.
That would certainly fit with what we know about Mayweather, specifically:
- He’s clearly the A-side in this fight and will have the upper hand in negotiations.
- He’s never participated in a fight that allowed kicks.
- He guards his undefeated record like drones guarding the queen bee.
- He knows the only way he’ll be the favorite is if kicking is disallowed.
Nasukawa also said this …
“Whatever the rules are that’s fine with me,” says #Japan‘s 20-year-old #kickboxing star #TenshinNasukawa after signing to fight #boxing legend @FloydMayweather in #Rizin Fighting Federation bout on New Year’s Eve#MMA #FloydMayweather #RIZINFF https://t.co/rnAq3LCjWv
— Kyodo News Sports (@kyodo_sports_en) November 5, 2018
Mayweather has always been as mentally savvy as he is physically gifted. He’s never put himself at a disadvantage before a fight, and given that this will be his first-ever fight outside the US, count on Team Money crafting the rules in such a way that Floyd has the edge.
That makes the +100 odds for Mayweather the early value play, in our book.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.