RIZIN 14 took place New Year’s Eve at the historic Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and the card was full of exciting MMA action. But the fight everyone is talking about a few days later wasn’t a mixed martial arts bout. The fight everyone can’t stop talking about was the special attraction boxing exhibition bout between the legend Floyd Mayweather and world-class kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa. There’s been quite a bit of chatter online about how the fight went down, and whether or not it was a legitimate bout or phoney.
On one hand, you can’t blame fans for thinking this way. That’s because we know that RIZIN specifically said this was an exhibition bout, and the way the fight was booked and how the ruleset changed in the lead-up to it made people think why that was the case. That, plus the fact RIZIN is the new-era version of PRIDE, and we know for a fact some of the results we saw back in the PRIDE day weren’t legitimate. But that doesn’t mean this Mayweather vs. Nasukawa fight was fixed, like many online are suggesting it is. Everyone is skeptical of the way the fight went down, but without any sort of proof suggesting otherwise, it’s unfair to say the fight was anything but real.
Yes, the fight had a funny finish, with Mayweather hitting Nasukawa with a punch that made him loopy and unable to get back up. It was definitely a weird way to end. But what people are forgetting is that Mayweather is arguably the best boxer of all time, and while Nasukawa is a tremendous kickboxing talent, he’s not even in the same realm as Mayweather when it comes to boxing. Not to mention Mayweather had a significant size advantage over his opponent. It’s almost surprising some thought Nasukawa would even have a chance in this fight. The boxing ring is Mayweather’s house, and he showed in this fight that he’s the better boxer.
With three knockdowns in less than a minute, Mayweather washed Nasukawa. The fight wasn’t even close. People just don’t want to believe it was a real finish because they don’t like Mayweather. As good as he is, he’s still one of the most polarizing fighters in combat sports.
Remember, people were picking Conor McGregor to upset him a couple of summers ago. Mayweather for some reason just never gets the respect he deserves. Even though we knew Nasukawa wasn’t going to be allowed to throw his specialty kicks, there were many out there who figured he would still defeat Mayweather. Of course, we saw that wasn’t the case. Far from it, actually, as Mayweather completely dominated this fight from the start.
But for me, the most important thing to remember is why would RIZIN want Nasukawa to lose? He’s the promotion’s golden boy, and he’ll be a staple of their shows for years to come. As big of a name as Mayweather is, there’s not much upside to seeing him defeat their young superstar kickboxer. For RIZIN, it would be a short-sighted move to agree to Nasukawa losing in such embarrassing fashion just so they could get Mayweather to fight for them. RIZIN was going to sell out their New Year’s show anyways, and hardcore MMA fans were going to find a way to watch online regardless. The Mayweather vs. Nasukawa fight was just for fun, and the way it ended may have looked funny, but that doesn’t mean it was fake. You just need more than a hunch to call something fake.
What did you make of the Mayweather vs. Nasukawa fight? Leave a comment below.