Almost three years ago, Floyd Mayweather showed up to a unique sort of New Years party.
The 50-0 boxing icon celebrated the occasion by dancing on the canvas he had just dropped Tenshin Nasukawa on three times before the youth corner jumped in to end this ridiculous, but extremely lucrative.
Mayweather had flown to Tokyo after being offered $ 9 million by Japan’s MMA promotion RIZIN for three-round exposure against the 20-year-old kickboxer.
Their idea was to get the undefeated prospect to massively expand their global profile by sharing the ring with one of the most recognizable faces on the planet.
It didn’t quite go as planned.
The announcement came completely out of the blue on a Monday morning in November, with the rest of the boxing world stunned as they woke up to the news.
Details slowly emerged when it emerged that Mayweather, whose previous bout with Conor McGregor was contested at 154 pounds, would face a featherweight at Nasukawa who last competed at 128 pounds.
However, two days later there was a problem.
After returning home from the announcement press conference in Japan, Mayweather posted an Instagram post stating that the contest was canceled.
He claimed he was completely taken aback by the organizers who accepted a low-key exhibit but then announced a massive event in an arena packed with thousands of people.
RIZIN responded with a statement from them, saying they were trying to save the fight with other talks and, in a surprise twist, they managed to do so.
With their star back on board, the event was officially reconfirmed with fully announced boxing rules and a bizarre trailer released.
American veteran Kenny Bayless, who had refereed several Mayweather fights, was even brought in to officiate.
The American, who has kept himself in decent condition, has decided that no special training camp is necessary for this fight.
He didn’t even take the event seriously enough to get to Japan ahead of time and acclimatize to the local time zone.
Luckily, he had a solution for it – he made the event happen on Mayweather’s time.
Fight day arrived and there were concerns during the undercard as reports started to emerge that Mayweather had yet to arrive.
As the previous fights continued and the main event grew closer, that worry grew more and more serious until finally, two hours later, Mayweather arrived.
The 41-year-old then held an impromptu live Instagram broadcast of himself putting his hands in his dressing room, while 37,000 sold-out people all waited in their seats.
“I’m just an old man, I’m out of shape, my body is out of shape, I’m just an old man trying to do it,” Mayweather told supporters.
He seemed to treat the whole event as a joke, just because he could.
Eventually, Floyd was ready to go, and Nasukawa entered the Saitama Super Arena for a hero welcome.
The Japanese crowd vehemently cheered on the man they optimistically hoped to be on the verge of becoming a new national icon.
Mayweather was hit by his son Koraun, with the couple dancing brash to the ring.
Both fighters were oddly given a bouquet of flowers during a long streak of introductions before, finally, thankfully, the first bell rang.
The American started out by playing with his opponent, throwing punches at him that weren’t even jabs.
He took a false stance, waved his left arm, and made comical noises taunting Nasukawa.
The hometown hero was clearly over the top, but stayed serious and started punching Mayweather with his punches.
Mayweather parried the effort, smiled and started laughing at his opponent before quickly changing gears.
Within two minutes, he knocked Nasukawa down three times and ended the fight.
The first knockdown came via a left hook towards the temple which apparently confused Nasukawa’s senses and sent him sprawling to the ground.
He got back to his feet and fought, unsuccessfully trying to make an impact on Mayweather.
The 20-year-old was quickly berated for a fierce right uppercut.
Outside the ring, those who had invested $ 9 million in the legend’s handbag in order to use it to build Nasukawa’s profile began to realize that they had made a big mistake.
To his credit, the stunned youngster reappeared, but understandably fell short of Mayweather’s speed, timing, and precision.
Nasukawa hit the canvas for the third time – from another left hook – and was later taken out by his corner.
You could hear a fly fly through the arena as 37,000 stunned fans, who had waited several hours overtime on New Years Eve for this fight, saw their national hope shattered in three brutal minutes.
Nasukawa was seen crying on camera and Mayweather began her victory dance.
The humiliation was total.
“It was all about the fun, we had fun,” Mayweather said in her post-fight interview.
“It’s not on my record, it’s not on Tenshin’s record, Tenshin is still undefeated, I’m still undefeated, I’m still retired.
“I did it just to entertain the fans in Japan. They wanted it to happen here in Japan, so I said, ‘Why not?’
Although the Mayweather fight did not go as planned for his reputation, Nasukawa’s public profile increased significantly regardless.
He has since returned to kickboxing and won all of his contests, rebuilding his career in 2019 and 2020.
As for Mayweather, he continued on the exhibition path and earlier this year stepped into the ring to fight Logan Paul, but his career as a legitimate fighter is over, and rightly so.
He has nothing more to prove.