Former five-weight world champion Floyd Mayweather can be seen to visibly enjoy the short-lived bout in Tokyo last night, and no wonder.
With the fight being worth a reputed $9m, Mayweather, 41, floored Tenshin Nasukawa three times in the first round, before the Japanese kick-boxer’s corner threw in the towel.
Originally scheduled for three, three minute rounds, the one-round bout was to leave 20-year-old Nasukawa in tears.
Coming into the widely criticised fight - branded a “joke” by light-welterweight world champion Amir Khan that was “hurting boxing” - both fighters were undefeated.
With Mayweather AWOL amid rumours he might not show up at all, the delayed exhibition was to eventually take place several hours later than planned.
Rules were strictly defined with kick-boxer Nasukawa under threat of a $5m fine should he kick Mayweather.
Neither were any judges present at the exhibition bout, with only a knockout or technical knockout counting as a win.
Criticism of the fight was perhaps justified, where Mayweather – with a 4kg (9lb) weight advantage - seemingly downed the smaller fighter far too easily, giving Nasukawa no quarter and the crowd no value for money.
With Nasukawa unable to use his full skillset against Mayweather’s early, uncharacteristic aggression, these easy floorings and some of the potential theatricality of the shots and falls, have led to accusations of a fix.
But it has also been equally credibly explained away as Mayweather’s technical mastery, with which he landed two devastating check hooks behind Nasukawa’s ear.
The younger fighter was then entirely unable to get his legs back, following which Mayweather stalked and bullied the younger fighter around the ring until the sorry end, although credit must be given to Nasukawa for consistently getting up.
On the matter of a fix, the point has also been made that Rizin had total faith and confidence in Nasukawa, and in the final analysis, had no reason to see the kick-boxer set up to lose.
Although no publicity is bad publicity.
“It was all about entertainment – we had a lot of fun”, said Mayweather. “They wanted this to happen in Japan, so I said ‘why not?’”
Following on from Nasukawa’s quick defeat, the American maintained: “I’m still undefeated; Tenshin is still undefeated. Tenshin is a true champion and a hell of a fighter.”
Turning to Nasukawa, he went on: “Hold your head up high.
“I want the fans around the world to support Tenshin, he’s a great guy and a great champion”.News Now - Sport News