Sports

Mayweather makes $12.2m but very few friends

Mayweather criticised after winning 'mismatched' exhibition bout against Japanese kickboxer Nasukawa

Floyd "Money" Mayweather faced much backlash after landing a windfall by defeating Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa on a technical knockout in just two minutes.

The US boxing superstar came out of retirement for the New Year's Eve "exhibition" bout in Saitama, but it looked like his bank account, rather than the sport, benefited.

In a mismatched contest, Mayweather floored Nasukawa, a kickboxer less than half his age, three times in the first round of the three-round contest before the Japanese fighter's trainer rushed in to stop the fight.

"Money" Mayweather has hinted on social media he was pocketing US$9 million (S$12.2m) for the fight, meaning he earned around US$4.5m per minute for the spectacle.

The American boxer, 41, at first appeared not to be taking the fight seriously, grinning at his opponent and aiming only soft punches at him.

But he then demonstrated his power, launching a series of jabs and hooks to the head of the 20-year-old Japanese fighter, sending him to the canvas after just one minute with a left hook.

Sensing his opponent was struggling, Mayweather stepped in for the kill.

He unleashed a flurry of punches that left Nasukawa reeling again within just two minutes of the bout and facing his second standing count after a huge right hook to the head.

  • $102k

    Floyd Mayweather hinted on social media he was pocketing US$9 million (S$12.2m) for the fight, meaning he earned S$102,000 per second for the spectacle.

With the Japanese fighter clearly battling to stay on his feet, the trainer rushed in and stopped the fight with less than one minute of the first round remaining.

"It was all about entertainment. We had fun," Mayweather said after the event.

"I'm still retired. I don't look forward to coming back to boxing but I did this just to entertain the fans in Japan."

The rules were strictly defined: three three-minute bouts and boxing only - kickboxer Nasukawa reportedly faced a US$5 million fine if he aimed a kick at Mayweather.

There were no judges, with only a knockout or technical knockout considered a victory in the bout, promoted as a pure exhibition match.

Crucially, the match did not feature on the record of either man, allowing both to retain a cherished unbeaten record.

"This won't go on my record. This won't go on Tenshin's record. Tenshin is still undefeated. I'm still undefeated. This is just entertainment for the people," he added.

The purse for the event was not disclosed but "Money" hinted on Instagram that he would be making US$1 million every minute of the bout, which was initially planned to run for nine minutes.

Mayweather, who has a perfect 50-0 record with 27 knockouts, also came out of retirement last year to knock out mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor in the 10th round of a super-hyped boxing match.

McGregor was among those unimpressed after Mayweather's latest win. He tweeted: "That 9 milli won't keep you on top of my list for long, kid."

Other pundits also reacted negatively. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix tweeted that the contest was "as dumb as I expected". ESPN's Dan Rafael said "Floyd assaulted a 122-pounder who is not a boxer".

Next up for Mayweather could be reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. - AFP

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