By Allan Fox: After a year out of the ring and two years since the last time he fought a professional boxer, Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0, 27 KOs) will be returning to the ring for a tune-up fight in January 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, according to TMZ.
Sadly, Mayweather is considering fighters from MMA and kick-boxing among the boxers he’s looking at for his tune-up. If Mayweather picks one of those fighters, he would be counting on MMA fans to pay to see his tune-up, because boxing fans likely won’t fall for paying to see another mismatch like his last one.
With Mayweather planning his tune-up fight in Japan, it would be well for him to fight the country’s most popular boxer Ryota Murata. He holds the WBA ‘regular’ middleweight title, and he’s incredibly popular in Japan. Murata vs. Mayweather would bring in tremendous ratings in Japan. It would be a risky fight for Mayweather, because the 6’0” Murata has excellent punching power and size. He’s not a novice like Mayweaher’s last opponent Conor McGregor. The 32-year-old Murata won a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics for Japan, and he’s been a belt holder at the pro level since 2017. If Mayweather wants to sell his merchandize in Japan, then he needs to fight the country’s biggest boxing star in Murata. However, it would be a risky fight because Murata is a lot bigger than the 5’8” Mayweather, and he’s got excellent punching power. Murata has already lost to Hassan N’Dam, and he’s looked vulnerable in his fights.
There’s no date, venue or opponent for the 41-year-old Mayweather’s next fight, but whoever it is, it’s likely going to be a big step up from his last opponent Conor McGregor, who he beat by a 10th round knockout last year in August 2017.
Mayweather’s tune-up fight in Tokyo will need to be against someone notable for it to bring in a lot of money on PPV. The U.S boxing fans aren’t going to want to pay big money to see Mayweather beat another novice fighter that has never fought before inside a ring like they saw in his last fight against Conor McGregor. If Mayweather wants to build up a fight against the shot-looking Pacquiao, he needs to fight a top welterweight. A predictable opponent for Mayweather might be someone like Adrien Broner, who is on the downside of his career and lacks hand speed. Broner is likely the only contender outside of the top five that the boxing public would be interested in seeing Mayweather fight in a tune-up. Mayweather isn’t going to fight any of the talented welterweights for his tune-up like Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Terence Crawford or Errol Spence Jr. Those guys would likely all beat Pacquiao.
Mayweather’s tune-up will help him get ready to fight for a world title against WBA World welterweight champion Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) in early 2019. Pacquiao is on board with fighting a rematch against Mayweather, who beat him by a 12 round unanimous decision in 2015 in the ‘Fight of the Century’ in Las Vegas. That fight broke PPV records in bringing in 4.6 million buys. Mayweather is counting on a lot of boxing fans being interested in wanting to pay to see a rematch between him and Pacquiao. It’s an idea might turn out to be a fail, as Pacquiao is not the fighter he once was in terms of talent and popularity. A much better rematch for Mayweather would be for him to face Saul Canelo Alvarez, who is coming off of back to back controversial fights against Gennady Golovkin. The boxing public would like to see Mayweather fight Canelo again.
McGregor had never boxed before in a professional fight, but that didn’t keep Mayweather from being the green light to fight him in Las Vegas last year at the T-Mobile Arena. The fight counted as a professional fight, and Mayweather picked up his 50th pro win to break former heavyweight world champion Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record. It was arguably a terrible way for Mayweather to break the record, as many fans felt that it should have been an exhibition level fight. Picking out a guy from another sport and then having it count as a professional fight seemed wrong.
Mayweather will likely keep coming back once or twice a year to get easy paydays until he either takes a bad beating or the boxing public stop purchasing his fights. There are enough casual boxing fans to make a second fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao a successful one. The hardcore boxing fans realize that Mayweather is over-the-hill and just looking to get easy paydays against fighters that are not relevant or ones that the true fans aren’t fans aren’t interested in. It would be nice if Mayweather fought a top talent like Spence, Thurman, Porter, Canelo, Golovkin, Jermell Charlo or Terence Crawford, but he’s not going to do that. Those guys are in their prime and can actually fight. Pacquiao is well past his best, and he’s already lost to Mayweather in 2015.