Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Conor McGregor recoils after taking a punch from Floyd Mayweather Jr. during their fight on Aug. 26, 2017. Mayweather is set to face off against kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa just outside of Tokyo, Japan on New Year’s Eve.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is back yet again. The undefeated, former multi-division boxing champion is making yet another come back into the squared circle. In recent months, Mayweather has suggested he would meet Manny Pacquiao or Khabib Nurmagomedov in the ring. However, neither of those men will face off against the 50-0 fighter on New Year's Eve. Instead, he will fight a 20-year-old Japanese kickboxer named Tenshin Nasukawa just outside of Tokyo, Japan. 

I know what you're thinking Nasu-who? Nasukawa fights for the Rizin Fighting Federation. The Japanese promotional company typically puts on kickboxing and MMA bouts. Neither Mayweather nor Rizin has released the details regarding the rules for the upcoming bout. You can bet your bottom dollar that it will be a traditional boxing match though. 

I cannot make possibly fathom that a 41-year-old Mayweather will allow a 20-year-old kickboxing champion to repeatedly kick him in the shins or on the chin. That is simply not going to happen. 

So why would Mayweather even bother to step in the ring with a kickboxer that nearly no one in America has heard of? The bag. The answer when it comes to Mayweather is always the bag. 

According to Tokyo Sports, Mayweather will pocket a cool $68 million from Rizin and is expected to earn another $20 million from endorsements and pay-per-view upside. That means Mayweather has 88 million reasons to head over to Tokyo to fight Nasukawa. 

We should all hope the fight isn’t a trainwreck like the time Muhammad Ali fought Antonio Inoki in 1975. Due to the kicking restrictions placed upon Inoki by Ali, the Japanese wrestler spent nearly the entire fight on his back kicking at Ali’s legs. The fight was so bad, the fans in attendance threw food and drinks at the fighters. Sadly, the fans probably landed on more hits than the fighters. 

As far as the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight that nobody is really asking for, Mayweather claims he still intends to make that fight happen in the spring. We’ll see if that ever comes to fruition. 

The fight will be Mayweather’s first bout since he earned $275 million to knock out the UFC’s Conor McGregor in Aug. 2017.

DAZN making moves 

Speaking of boxing and money, now seems the perfect time to finally talk about DAZN (pronounced Da Zone). As recently as two months ago many American sports fans had never heard of DAZN. The streaming video startup has made a name for itself with a wave of signings in the boxing. Anthony Joshua and Canelo Alvarez, two of the sport's biggest stars, have inked big deals with the streaming network. 

Alvarez signed a five-year, 11-fight deal with DAZN in for $365 million in October. The news shook up the boxing world. Right after HBO shuttered its doors for the sweet science, DAZN came strutting in and making it rain like a rap video. 

In May, Joshua inked a three-year, £100 million contract extension with Matchroom Boxing. The deal was largely funded by Matchroom’s $1 billion deal with DAZN. 

How does DAZN work? 

It’s similar to the tons of streaming services that have led people to ditch traditional cable/satellite. Think part-Netflix and part-Sling TV. 

DAZN features both live sports and on-demand archives and libraries. It’s not only a boxing network. DAZN features soccer, basketball, football, motorsports, MMA, rugby and plenty of other sports. At just $9.99 per month for access to all the content, it seems like a much better deal than premium networks like HBO, which charge a higher monthly fee and still force you to drop an additional $65 for the good fights. 

Plus, with boxing, DAZN promises to air the entire fight card as opposed to just a few fights that we’re accustomed to seeing on traditional networks. It should be interesting to see which fighters or promotional banners DAZN signs next in its quest to take over boxing.

Duke Nuked ‘Em 

I caught a good portion of Duke’s season-opening matchup versus Kentucky and the Blue Devils team is going to be a serious problem this season. Facing the No. 2 team in the nation, No. 4 Duke embarrassed, destroyed and decapitated the Wildcats 118-84. 

R.J. Barrett, the No. 1-rated freshman in the nation led the way with 33 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. However, it was the new-age “Human Highlight Film” Zion Williamson (only the No. 2-rated freshman) who dazzled the crowd and undoubtedly left coaches around the country scratching their heads on how to stop the 6-foot-7, 285-pound phenom. 

R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson

R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson celebrate during Duke’s 118-84 blowout victory over the Kentucky Wildcats.

Williamson amassed 28 points and 7 rebounds in the first official game of his college career. He routinely made spectacular plays that defied the laws of gravity and physics. Even when he lowered his head and drove into three or four defenders in the paint, he was simply too big, too strong and too skilled for the Wildcats defenders. Ill-advised drives often resulted in a bucket or an assist. 

Cam Reddish, the No. 3-rated freshman in college basketball added 22 points in Duke’s blowout victory. 

It’s not like the Blue Devils were playing against Southwest Idaho State either. Mike Krzyzewski’s squad hung that 34-point L on John Calipari and One-and-Done U! Kentucky boasts the No. 2-rated freshman class in the country (behind Duke of course) but got spanked up and down the court like they got caught stealing money out of their momma’s purses. 

In a case of old heads misremembering history, Jalen Rose opened his mouth and actually said that Williamson wouldn’t have started for the Fab Five. You mean to tell me that Jimmy King or Ray Jackson would’ve played over the athletic marvel who is already known by just his first name at 18-years-old? Nonsense. 

Teams around the country better watch out. Zion and Blue Devils are coming and they are scary good. 

Follow Ishmael and In the Clutch on Twitter @ishcreates. For Sports Break videos, subscribe to The St. Louis American’s YouTube page.

Ishmael H. Sistrunk is a columnist and the website coordinator for the St. Louis American and www.stlamerican.com.

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