Floyd Mayweather, fight, how to watch, start time, preview, Kostya Tszyu

Johnny Lewis was somewhere in Fiji this week when we tracked him down to ask a question debated by fight fans since the early 2000s.

Specifically, Kostya Tszyu versus Floyd Mayweather.

Who wins?

Understanding that while it has now been 17 years since the Australian fight favorite farewelled boxing, that US megastar so many wished he faced – Money Mayweather – is still throwing hands at age 45.

Indeed, at a time when Tszyu’s sons Tim and Nikita are now making the family headlines, Mayweather is himself making final preparations for yet another bout – this time, an exhibition against Japanese MMA fighter Mikuru Asakura on Sunday (AEST).

Watch Mayweather v Asakura LIVE on Main Event available on Kayo & Foxtel, Sunday 25 September from 1pm AEST. ORDER NOW >

Slated for three rounds, the contest is set to earn the undefeated Hall of Famer around $20 million while also sparking talk of a potential rematch with Conor McGregor.

Yet for sports fans Down Under, it also reignites that greatest of talking points for front bars, backyard barbecues, everywhere: How would Tszyu have fared against a much younger US champ?

Over the years, there have been claims Mayweather ducked the Aussie favorite in his prime, while others argue it was simply unfortunate timing which ensured the two never met.

So as for who wins the great superfights that never was?

“If people had barked hard enough and the money was good enough, they could have fought,” Lewis revealed this week from Fiji, where he is currently spending time helping the local boxing scene.

“But it would’ve been a tough ask (for Tszyu).

“That’s what I would say.

“Because Mayweather, he’s always been such a great defensive fighter. And just trying to get through that defense, it would’ve been an ordeal.

“Then you’ve got the speed of his hands, too.

“So it would have taken something really special to beat him.

“I think our only chance would have been to knock him out”.

Lewis then went on to remind how by the time Tszyu and Mayweather found themselves around the same weight, his charge was actually approaching the end of his storied career.

While Tszyu dominated the light welterweight scene from 2001, Mayweather only really entered the weight class, and title calculations, by 2004.

Yet within less than a year of that, Tszyu was gone.

With one of the nation’s most successful, and popular athletes famously suffering an upset loss to British favorite Ricky Hatton in 2005 — and never fighting again.

Only weeks after Hatton beat Tszyu, Mayweather destroyed Arturo Gatti to win the WBC super lightweight title.

Floyd Mayweather dealt comfortably with Ricky Hatton.Source: AP

And within 18 months, it would be the American stopping Hatton himself in the 10th round of their WBC welterweight title bout — with the Englishman’s name added to a list including the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto and Oscar De La Hoya.

“So we were a bit past it when Floyd got to our weight,” Lewis concedes. “Around that time, it was when Ricky Hatton stopped us… and then Mayweather soon after showed how to get Ricky out of there pretty quickly.”

Yet Aussie fight agent Glen Jennings – who was part of Team Tszyu and now manages sons Tim and Nikita – insists a fight between the two stars would have been a “ripper”.

Jennings says while the Tszyu camp discussed a Mayweather showdown, it simply never eventuated.

“But I think it would have been a crazy fight,” he said. “A fantastic clash of styles.

“Kostya was avoided by a lot of fighters because of his knockout ability in both hands. Some guys he didn’t just finish, he retired them.”

Of course, while Tszyu was undeniably a legend of his time, and multiple world title winner, the big punching Aussie was also eight years Mayweather’s senior.

In fact, way back in 1995 when Floyd was still an amateur, he even fought Mayweather’s uncle Roger for the IBF light welterweight title.

Held at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Tszyu retained his belt via unanimous decision against the opponent who would later become trainer for his more famous nephew.

Jennings insists that had both fighters fought in their prime, however, Tszyu would have forever wrecked Mayweather’s 50-0 record.

“Boxing is a young man’s sport,” Jennings said. “And Kostya in his prime was unbeatable.

“He not only had an ability to adapt to any new style, but he was a punisher.

“And it wouldn’t have been easy.

“But I think Kostya takes that zero away from Floyd, and by knockout.”

While Mayweather’s last sanctioned bout was his TKO win over McGregor in 2017, he has since taken three exhibitions – against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa, Youtuber Logan Paul and former sparring partner Don Moore this past May.

So as for Sunday’s rival?

Aged 30, Asakura has an MMA record of 16-3 which includes both RINGS featherweight and lightweight titles.

For the past four years he has been part of the Japanese RIZIN promotion, going 10-2.

To which Mayweather says what?

“I know this is just an exhibition,” he told the press in Japan this week. “But with my single punch I can guarantee you his stomach will flare up like an eggplant.”

Watch Mayweather v Asakura LIVE on Main Event available on Kayo & Foxtel, Sunday 25 September from 1pm AEST. ORDER NOW >


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