Floyd Mayweather’s dismantling of Rizin kickboxer: Work or shoot?

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It’s old hat for us in the scripted fight game, but it’s always wild when a game of “work or shoot?” trickles over into competitions without a predetermined outcome.

Maybe it’s because he’s 1 – 0 at WrestleMania, having used some brass knuckles to knockout Big Show back in 2008. Probably it’s because of his post-retirement strategy of taking circus sideshow exhibition bouts for big bucks. Either way, just like the debate about how much he coordinated with and/or carried Conor McGregor during their 2017 fight, Floyd Mayweather again has brought out the skeptics in the “real” sports crowd.

He did it this time by getting kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa’s corner to throw in the towel after he knocked the 20 year old down three times in about a minute – after spending the minute before that dancing and taunting him. The exhibition took place at the Japanese MMA promotion Rizin Fighting Championship’s annual New Year’s Eve show earlier today.

Here’s the full fight:

The set-up was as weird as the fight itself, with Mayweather taking part in an announcement, then backing out hours later claiming a miscommunication. That was eventually settled, but then Floyd was late to the venue on Dec. 31, leading to a two hour delay in the show and fears of a cancellation.

Then, two minutes of “work” for $9 million.

Word is the undefeated boxing legend walks around at approximately 150 pounds. He looked huge compared to the flyweight (~120 pounds) Nasukawa. And then there’s the whole “greatest boxer of the modern era” vs. “good young kickboxer” aspect. It certainly could be legit. Floyd’s initial knock down punch landed square on his opponent’s temple, and the Tokyo native probably never recovered. The uppercut certainly looked like it would mess someone up.

Nasukawa’s final fall was like Shawn Michaels selling for Hulk Hogan, though. It’s that, in addition to general questions about the set-up, which probably has people saying the fix was in.

Your thoughts, sports entertainment experts?




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