By Keith Idec

Floyd Mayweather Jr. arrived several hours late Monday night.

Otherwise, his timing was fantastic.

Boxing’s biggest star knocked down Japanese kickboxing sensation Tenshin Nasukawa three times before their scheduled three-round boxing exhibition was stopped in the first round by American referee Kenny Bayless in Saitama, Japan. The 41-year-old Mayweather, well aware how badly his aggressive adversary wanted to knock him out, wasted no time in flooring the overmatched Nasukawa with a lunging left hook, just one minute and eight seconds into the bout.

The 20-year-old Nasukawa was buzzed badly, but he beat Bayless’ count. Nasukawa tried to fire back at Mayweather, who covered up, took Nasukawa’s punches on his gloves and dropped his smaller, younger opponent for the second time with a right hook at the 1:15 mark of the first round.

Nasukawa’s head snapped back violently and he fell flat on his back. The game Nasukawa still managed to get up again.

Mayweather, more aggressive than usual, pounced on his vulnerable opponent. The undefeated five-division champion caught Nasukawa with a right hand to the top of his head that sent a stumbling Nasukawa to the canvas for the third time.

Once Nasukawa hit the canvas that third time, with 48 seconds to go in the first round, his trainer threw in the towel and entered the ring. Bayless then waved an end to the exhibition.

Judges weren’t assigned to score this spectacle at Saitama Super Arena, thus it would’ve been ruled a draw if it lasted all three rounds. The bout doesn’t count on Mayweather’s unblemished boxing record (50-0, 27 KOs).

Before Monday’s exhibition, Mayweather hadn’t fought since he stopped UFC superstar Conor McGregor in the 10th round of their scheduled 12-round, 154-pound boxing match 16 months ago at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Nasukawa never had strictly boxed before Monday’s meeting, as he has achieved stardom in his homeland as a kickboxer and a mixed martial artist. He has gone 27-0, including 20 knockouts, as a featherweight kickboxer and 4-0 in MMA matches (two KOs, one submission).

Mayweather’s demolition of Nasukawa barely took two minutes. The main event of a 13-bout card on New Year’s Eve was delayed several hours due to Mayweather’s late arrival to the arena and began more than eight hours following the opening bell for the first fight.

Nasukawa and promoter RIZIN Fighting Federation’s had hoped to become better, broader brands by beating the aged Mayweather. Luring Mayweather to Japan even for an exhibition made the event successful, but Mayweather’s demolition of Nasukawa won’t be good for the young fighter’s reputation.

Mayweather claimed through his Instagram account prior to arriving at Saitama Arena that he would be paid $9 million for facing Nasukawa. Previous published reports stated Mayweather would make much more than that – $88 million, according to one Japanese outlet – for this transpacific trip.

Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, repeatedly stated before the exhibition that Mayweather would earn eight figures for his participation in this event.

Other than that, the exhibition received little publicity in the United States, perhaps by design. Not only is Nasukawa extremely inexperienced in boxing, he was much smaller than the 5-feet-8 Mayweather.

Nasukawa typically fights at featherweight (126 pounds) in kickboxing. Their exhibition was contested at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds.

Mayweather’s size and strength advantages were obvious immediately against an overanxious opponent who wasn’t accustomed to taking punches from someone so much bigger than him.

The Mayweather-Nasukawa wasn’t televised live in the U.S. It aired in Japan live on Fuji TV as part of promoter RIZIN’s partnership with that influential network.

This marked the first time in more than 20 years that one of Mayweather’s matches hadn’t been broadcast either by HBO or Showtime, or the pay-per-view divisions of those networks.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.