By: Sean Crose
The older one gets, the less one’s body performs as it once did. That’s true for anyone, including all time great athletes. Still, it appears Vegas odds are in favor of Floyd Mayweather, (who is now in his forties, and who hasn’t fought since he punched out UFC star Conor McGregor well over a year ago) getting the best of young Japanese MMA wunderkind Tanshin Nasukawa when the two men meet in Japan on December 31st. Not that it may matter. This being an exhibition fight, and a three round exhibition fight at that, there will reportedly be no winner declared should the fight go the distance.
Still, Nasukawa, who is 28-0 in kickboxing thinks he will rise to the occasion in what will essentially be his boxing debut. “He says such provocative stuff I feel like kicking him (Mayweather),” the twenty year old has said. Such a move might delight MMA fans, but it’s highly unlikely to happen. A legitimate athlete in his own sport, Nasukawa is man who, like McGregor, is intent on mastering a new sport. He’s even worked with Jorge Linares in the lead-up to December 31st, an indication of Nasukawa’s seriousness walking in, an experience he says will prove quite helpful.
“He taught me how to find a way to land a punch against (Mayweather),” Nasukawa claimed (via The Japan Times). “He’s got an outstanding defense, and told me some certain punches against him.” Mayweather, it should be noted, will be walking in with several inches on his younger foe. Nasukawa will also be fighting at a far higher weight than the 126 pounds he’s used to. Yet the fighter is clearly eager to shock to the world. “I’m planning,” he says, “to show moves that will surprise him…I’m going to capitalize on the kickboxing techniques that I’ve learned.”
Mayweather, of course, has the comfort of being the A-side. A worldwide celebrity known to carefully orchestrate matches in such a way that he has every possible advantage.The 50-0 Mayweather has notably chosen a smaller man from another sport to engage in. What’s more, Mayweather now appears to view himself as an entertainer rather than an active boxer. Nasukawa feels his opponent is “not taking the bout seriously.” While this may or may not be true, it’s always worth noting Mayweather probably wouldn’t be fighting Nasukawa at all at his age, if certain things weren’t clearly in his favor. Not that it bothers Nasukawa.
“I can change the world,” he says, “with my fist.”