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05th Nov 2018

We know nothing about it but Floyd Mayweather’s RIZIN stunt promises to be a shitshow

This is going to be less entertaining than Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki

Darragh Murphy

Floyd Mayweather is not stupid.

With practically nothing revealed in the press conference which announced that Floyd Mayweather would be coming out of retirement to fight an undefeated kickboxer in Japanese MMA promotion RIZIN FF, we can only assume that Mayweather is going to arrange the rules massively in his favour.

Mayweather’s legs are not conditioned to take a leg kick from a non-fighter so there is absolutely no way that he is going to sign a contract which will allow the dangerous Tenshin Nasukawa to dig his shins into the meat of the 41-year-old’s thighs.

If ‘Money’ is determined to appear willing to fight out of his element and is happy to include kicks and/or knees in his bout agreement then don’t be surprised if Nasukawa, 20, is “encouraged” to keep his feet to himself on December 31.

This is all speculative at this point but it’s also very possible that Mayweather “agrees” to fight under kickboxing rules and Nasukawa “agrees” to fight under boxing rules which, theoretically, means that both are fighting out of their comfort zones, but if it plays out in that manner then not one kick will be thrown, mark my words.

Nasukawa’s message that “his punch can change the history and I will show that to you!” should tell us a lot because any kickboxer allowed to use his deadliest weapons would be warning Mayweather to be wary of kicks in the bout because it would literally take one kick to his leg to stop the 50-0 boxing great in his tracks. But Nasukawa is talking about his hands which would suggest that’s all we’re going to see on New Year’s Eve.

Don’t get it confused. This will be no more than a publicity stunt which could be considered a glorified exhibition match and I’d love it if Mayweather proved me wrong but I don’t reckon the most savvy businessman in combat sports history is suddenly going to abandon his career-long tendency to minimise damage in order to put on a show in Japan.

It would even be somewhat surprising if Mayweather agrees to fight in the standard RIZIN gloves because he has a history of breaking his hands so would presumably prefer as much padding as possible so while his teasing Instagram post showed him wearing what appeared to be 4oz. gloves, he will likely push for thicker gloves because he also knows that a clipping punch from a fighter like Nasukawa could potentially test his chin.

In case you weren’t aware, Muhammad Ali once agreed to a special rules fight against Japanese professional wrestler Antonio Inoki back in 1976 and that turned out to be a chaotic shitshow which basically consisted of Ali’s legs being kicked by a grounded Inoki on their way to a 15-round draw.

There have been varying reports of what Ali and Inoki expected to happen in the fight, with some suggestions that they initially anticipated something closer to a professional wrestling work.

Mayweather and Nasukawa are not going to give us a technical MMA contest in which ‘Money’ shocks us all by checking a leg kick and counters with a straight right down the pipe.

It’s going to be a farce and I hope I’m proven wrong but let’s be honest, Mayweather’s just not that kind of guy.