HomeSportsMayweather intoxicates Asakura in boxing exhibition

Mayweather intoxicates Asakura in boxing exhibition

Floyd Mayweather still wins boxing matches, even if they don’t go for his official pro record.

The legendary boxer stopped Japanese MMA fighter and YouTuber Mikuru Asakura at the end of the second round with a big right hand on Sunday’s Rizin Fighting Federation card in Saitama, Japan. It was Mayweather’s second exhibition game this year and his second in Japan since his retirement from professional fighting.

Mayweather will reportedly earn $20 million for the match, which was slated to run over three rounds. Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather’s longtime rival, was ringside.

“I want to thank the whole country of Japan,” Mayweather said afterwards. “Incredible country, incredible people. An exciting, incredible turnout. Applause for this great competitor here.”

After a quiet first round in which Asakura landed some body shots, Asakura had some success in the second round, connecting several times to Mayweather’s head with left and right from a left stance.

But Mayweather, one of the greatest boxers ever and the most profitable martial arts athlete of all time, came back with his own hard shots. He landed hard on the body just before the finish, then set up Asakura for the big right side at the bell of the second round, which eventually ended the fight.

Asakura rose slowly and referee Kenny Bayless waved the fight off before either boxer reached his corner after the second.

“Thank you for having me,” Mayweather told the crowd. “I will come back.”

Mayweather, 45, acknowledged that Pacquiao was present in his post-fight speech and oddly referred to him as a “future” world champion. Pacquiao, 43, addressed the fans before the exhibition and then again.

Prior to the fight, Pacquiao said Asakura, 30, had traveled to the Philippines to ask for advice on how to take on Mayweather. Pacquiao added that he was there to support Asian martial arts. Afterwards, Pacquiao said twice that he hopes to be invited back, leading commentators to speculate that something could be brewing with Rizin, Mayweather and Pacquiao.

“I hope this isn’t my last invitation to watch a good fight, a good exhibition,” said Pacquiao.

In a strange pre-fight scenario, a man who was supposed to bring Mayweather flowers — a pre-fight martial arts tradition in Japan — threw the bouquet on the floor instead of handing it to Mayweather.

Mayweather came to the ring wearing a jersey with the number 50 on it, marking his professional record of 50-0. In December 2019, Mayweather finished Japanese kickboxing prodigy Tenshin Nasukawa in the first round after three knockdowns. Nasukawa competes at about 120 pounds. Asakura was much closer to Mayweather’s weight on Saturday, maybe a little bigger, although there was no official contract weight.

In an undercard fight with the Mayweather vs. Headlining Asakura, Mayweather’s bodyguard Ray “Jizzy Mack” Sadeghi was knocked out in a boxing match by 135-pound kickboxer Kouzi. There was no weigh-in, but Sadeghi was significantly bigger than Kouzi in the ring.

Mayweather had an exhibition game against Don Moore in Dubai in May and has said he will compete in another such match in the Middle East before the end of the year, although no opponent has been named.

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