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Mayweather: “I’m still retired”

Image: Mayweather: "I'm still retired"

By Jim Dower: Floyd Mayweather Jr. made it clear after his first round knockout victory over Japanese kick boxing star Tenshin Nasukawa in their three round exhibition match on December 31 that he’s “still retired” and that he doesn’t plan on resuming his career in the pro ranks. Mayweather didn’t rule out him continuing to select MMA fighters to compete against in boxing matches. Thus far, Mayweather beaten two MMA fighters in back to back boxing matches in Conor McGregor and 20-year-old Nasukawa.

McGregor, 30, at least had size at 5’9″ 155 pounds and some boxing skills going for him to make it slightly competitive against Mayweather in their fight last year in August 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tenshin, 5’5″, had no size or stand up fighting ability going for him. He was just a really small fighter that looked out of his class against Mayweather in their fight on Monday night, December 31 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Mayweather dropped Tenshin three times in the first round before the Japanese fighter’s corner threw in the towel to have the fight stopped. In a word, it was a slaughter in every sense of the word.

For the boxing and MMA fans that didn’t realize what kind of fight this would be, they were both shocked and repulsed by what they saw during the Mayweather vs. Nasukawa fight. Floyd destroyed a 122 pound fighter that isn’t a boxer, and has no experience in the sport. There wasn’t a catch weight to help make the fight fair. It was just a tremendous mismatch. It would be the same thing if Mayweather entered the MMA and had to fight someone with a 25 lb weight advantage over him. Mayweather would technically have a chance while he was still on his feet, but the kicks that he would have to defend against along with the grappling would likely result in a quick stoppage for him ending in a bad way.

“I’m still retired. I don’t look forward to coming back to boxing,” Mayweather said after the fight. “But, you know, I did this just to entertain the fans in Japan. They wanted this to happen over here in Japan, so I said why not.”

If Mayweather is going to continue to fight MMA guys with no experience in boxing from Japan or any country in the future , he needs to at least find someone his own size. The visual image of Mayweather inside the ring with a guy so much smaller than him in Nasukawa looked like a bully beating up on a kid. For all intents and purposes, the 41-year-old Mayweather beat up on a kid in 20-year-old Tenshin, who looked more like a teenager than a 20-year-old. It was a full grown man in Mayweather facing someone who looked like adolescent. It makes you wonder if Mayweather and the organizers for this event thought this out clearly. How did they not know that the age, size and the difference in experience between the two fighters would be off putting for a lot of boxing and MMA fans that witnessed the fight. For Mayweather not to have come off looking like a bully, he needed to face someone as big or bigger than himself, preferably a fighter with some knowledge of the sport of boxing.

Although Tenshin is a kick boxer, he didn’t have the hand skills to be inside the ring with Mayweather. There’s probably no one in boxing in the 122 lb weight division that could hang with Mayweather for more than a few rounds. But at least if he had fought a 122 lb fighter from a boxing background, they’d know what they’re doing and be able to hold Mayweather off for a little while before getting stopped. Tenshin showed no resistance at all. It was too easy for Mayweather, as he took advantage of the Japanese fighter’s lack of defensive skills, size and power to drop him repeatedly in the first round of their spectacle on Monday night in Saitama, Japan.

Manny Pacquiao appeared to take a shot at Mayweather in a Tweet on New Year’s Eve last night in Tweeting that his New Year’s resolution is to face only guys his own size or bigger than himself.

Pacquiao hit on all points in saying that he only wants to fight experienced guys his size or bigger in his career. With his size against the much smaller 5’5″ Tenshin Nasugaww, who has never boxed professionally in his life, Mayweather was facing an inexperienced fighter that appeared to be 20 to 25 lbs lighter than himself.

As far as Mayweather’s assertion that he was giving the fans entertainment, it would be interesting to know how many boxing and MMA fans were entertained by what they witnessed in the Mayweather vs. Nasukawa fight. The fact that it wasn’t a competitive match makes it difficult to see it as entertainment. It looked like a setup fight to some fans. It looked like it was theater rather than a true fight.

“So once again, I’m still retired,” Mayweather said. “I’m still 50-0. Tenshin is still undefeated. He’s still a true champion. Tenshin is a hell of a fighter and he’s a great champion. I want the fans all around the world to support Tenshin. He’s a great guy, he’s a good fighter. He’s a great champion., Mayweather said.

Mayweather mentioning that he’s “still retired” from boxing appears to be a way for him to prevent fans from pressuring him come out of retirement to face one of the top boxers like Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Terence Crawford, Shawn Porter, Saul Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin. The boxing fans want to see Mayweather resume his career to tae on true best, as he retired after defeating Andre Berto in September 15. Mayweather had the option of facing the top welterweights before retiring, like Spence and Thurman, but he stead fought Berto, who was a top contender, but not one considered to be a threat to beating Floyd.

If Mayweather does come out of retirement in 2019, Pacquiao is expected to be the opponent that he’ll face in real fight. This won’t be a case of Mayweather taking on the best fighter at 147, since the 40-year-old Pacquiao isn’t considered the best fighter in the welterweight division. He’s a good fighter, but his recent performances suggest that he’s not in the same class as the likes of Spence, Crawford, Porter and Thurman. Pacquiao might be a better fighter than Danny Garcia though, but he’s already been beaten by Thurman and Porter. Mayweather facing Pacquiao wouldn’t be a case of him fighting the best at welterweight, but at least it wouldn’t be an exhibition match between two vastly different sized fighters with a huge gap in age and experience in the sport of boxing. Pacquiao, 5’6 1/2″ is still a lot smaller than the 5’8″ Mayweather, but he’s got speed, power and experience going for him.

The way that Pacquiao looked in his recent 7th round knockout win over Lucas Matthysse on July 15 in Malaysia, he might be considered too much of a threat by Mayweather for him to fight him. Whether Mayweather faces Pacquiao in 2019 could come down to how the Filipino star looks in his next fight against Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner on January 19 on SHOWTIME PPV at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. If Pacquiao looks as devastatingly powerful in beating Broner as he did in his knockout victory over the 36-year-old Matthysse last summer, then it’s very likely that Mayweather will steer clear of of him due to threat level. Pacquiao looked much rejuvenated in his fight with Matthysse.

In contrast, Mayweather has looked slow and puffy in his last two fights against Tenshin and Conor McGregor. The speed is likely not going to return for Mayweather. He can always trim down his physique with hard work, but the lost hand speed is likely gone forever for Mayweather. Without his hand speed, Mayweather is going to get hit a lot by Pacquiao. With the power that Pacquiao showed against Matthysse, he’ll wind up knocking Mayweather out if he can put hands on him frequently. Mayweather likes to point out that he was able to take the power shots from the likes of Saul Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto. Mayweather didn’t get hit often by those guys due to his mobility and quick reflexes. Marcos Maidana hurt Mayweather with a big shot that staggered him in their rematch in July 2014. If Pacquiao is able to land on a slower Mayweather, he could knock him out. Tenshin was able to land his shots on Mayweather, but he lacked the size to stand in there and slug with him.

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