Fight world reacts to Mayweather ‘assault’
FLOYD Mayweather been the target of criticism after knocking down Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa three times en route to a first-round stoppage in their boxing exhibition at the Saitama Super Arena.
Mayweather, 41, a former five-weight world champion who retired from boxing last year with a perfect professional record of 50-0, saw off an opponent 21 years his junior - who had never fought a straight boxing match - in brisk fashion.
In a bout that was scheduled for three rounds just outside Tokyo, Nasukawa lasted only two minutes and 20 seconds before his corner threw in the towel.
Mayweather said in the build-up he expected to pocket $US9 million ($A13 million) from the fight, which headlined an event organised by Rizin Fighting Federation, a Japanese mixed martial arts organisation.
Most of the fight world was less than impressed with the bout.
Manny Pacquiao appeared to throw shade at his former rival, declaring his New Year's resolution was to "continue to only fight experienced opponents who are my size or bigger", but former world champion Andre Ward had no problem with Mayweather taking the cash.
Sports Illustrated boxing scribe Chris Mannix tweeted the bout was "as dumb as I expected", and ESPN's Dan Rafael said "Floyd assaulted a 122-pounder who is not a boxer".
Some even questioned if the fight was fixed, such was the ease in which Mayweather - who was never a noted heavy hitter in his career - put his opponent down.
Former UFC heavyweight turned media identity Brendan Schaub said he had "seen better acting in pornos, (definitely) rigged".
Conor McGregor's coach John Kavanagh and MMA reporter Ariel Helwani felt it validated the Irishman's boxing skills given he lasted until the 10th round with Mayweather.
Mayweather had a 4kg weight advantage over Nasukawa, who boasted an unbeaten record in 28 kickboxing bouts and four contests in MMA. The pair's bout has no bearing on either man's official record.
Nasukawa, though, reportedly faced a multimillion-dollar fine if he attempted to kick out at Mayweather.
But he barely threw a punch as he failed to make it out of the first round.
So what's next for Mayweather?
A boxing fight against current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has been discussed, according to Nurmagomedov's manager Ali Abdelaziz.
"Me and him have been texting each other for the last month and if he says he did not, I'm gonna put everything on line. Do not lie, Floyd," Abdelaziz told TMZ.
"He's very much begging for the fight. I told him, I said he's 57 years old, his body's weak, he's fragile, he's got a small head. People think I'm crazy but I think Khabib would beat his ass.
"He thinks Khabib is easy money but Khabib is much younger, much stronger, more tougher than Conor, a guy that went to the eleventh round with him. And Conor gave up, he's a quitter. Khabib is no quitter."
- with wires