Floyd Mayweather Jr. is one of boxing’s all-time greats. He makes Vegas millions each time he enters the ring, but it’s time to stop celebrating his accomplishments.
On August 26 Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC superstar Conor McGregor will face off in what, on paper, is one of the most fascinating, albeit bizarre, sporting events of all time. Mayweather, the king of defensive boxing, came out of retirement to put his 49-0 record on the line. Meanwhile, McGregor, UFC’s biggest superstar, will exit the comfort of MMA, transitioning from the Octagon to the ring for his first professional boxing match.
While bookmakers have shrunk the odds of a McGregor victory after a trash-talking worldwide press tour ahead of the bout, make no mistake: Floyd Mayweather Jr. will almost undoubtedly come out victorious. This fight — it’s pure spectacle. It’s all about money.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. will easily make more than $100 million, and with PPV revenue, estimates go as high as $400 million for a night’s work. Despite career earnings exceeding $700 million, the IRS has been calling to collect from Mayweather, and thanks to his shortsighted lavish spending, he doesn’t have the dough. Meanwhile, Mayweather’s career earnings will eclipse $1 billion, making him only the third athlete ever to hit 10 digits.
McGregor will take home far more than $75 million, with estimates exceeding $125 million with PPV revenues and ticket sales. That amount is far, far more than he’s made throughout his entire MMA career.
To witness the fight in person, ticket prices range from $500 to $10,000. To watch at home, the Showtime pay-per-view price is $90 ($100 in HD). The fight will even be shown in some movie theaters across the country. But the high price for what will likely be an uneventful fight doesn’t matter. People will pay to watch these two men face off. The prices were set so high because people have been asking for Mayweather/McGregor for years, and finally it’s happening.
The Mayweather/McGregor fight will be the biggest sporting event of the year. But this fight shouldn’t even be happening.
No, not because it’s a blatant cash grab pitting one of the best boxers of all time against an amateur boxer. But because the repeated, deplorable actions of Floyd Mayweather Jr. should make it impossible to cheer for him. How can we applaud a man’s use of his fists inside the ring when we know how much devastation they’ve caused at home?
Floyd Mayweather’s persistent history of domestic violence and abuse dates back to the early years of his illustrious career. Sadly, he’s never faced meaningful repercussions for his repulsive actions. Shamefully, he’s never shown remorse for his despicable mistreatment of women.
In an interview with ESPN’s Cari Champion earlier this year, Mayweather said he has restrained women before, but “as far as stomp, kick, and beat a woman, the world would see photos.”
He has echoed the “no pictures” sentiment to numerous journalists over the years, to the point that it’s clear his responses have been extremely rehearsed. But there have been pictures. A 2015 Deadspin report noted that pictures from his 2010 incident with then-longtime partner Josie Harris were in police possession, but they were later destroyed.
For that incident, in which he kicked, punched, shoved and threatened to kill the mother of three of his children, medical records showed contusions, bruises on the back of her head and a concussion. Mayweather received a measly 90 days in jail despite a damning statement penned by his son Koraun Mayweather, who witnessed the attack at just 10 years old. Mayweather served only two months of that time. In 2013 Harris said Mayweather may have killed her if Koraun hadn’t notified the police in time.
Mayweather’s volatile, misogynistic behavior was known to the world far before that incident, though.
He faced two counts of battery for assaulting Melissa Brim, the mother of his daughter Ayanna, in separate incidents in 2001 and 2002. In exchange for a suspended sentence, Mayweather pled guilty.
While at a nightclub in 2003, Mayweather punched two women, both friends of Josie Harris, allegedly because Mayweather didn’t approve of them as her friends. Mayweather was charged with two counts of battery and received a suspended sentence in 2004. However, in 2005 the guilty verdict was vacated and in 2008 was, confusingly, dismissed.
Not long after the nightclub incident, Mayweather was again arrested after repeatedly punching Harris in a car and dragging her by her hair. He was charged with felony battery, but Harris changed her tune when court proceedings came around. Mayweather was subsequently acquitted.
All told, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been the perpetrator in at least seven cases of domestic violence against five women which resulted in either his arrest or a citation. That’s not counting separate incidents for which charges weren’t filed.
Josie Harris, who bore the brunt of his abuse that’s on record, previously viewed her relationship with Mayweather as a sort of twisted love story. Like many domestic violence victims, she blamed herself for many years, and only in 2014 in an interview with USA Today did she finally admit to herself that she was indeed a victim of domestic violence. Also like many victims, she appears to have been psychologically manipulated. Mayweather gave her expensive gifts, such as a $500,000 25-carat diamond ring.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. isn’t an alleged abuser. He is a convicted serial abuser of women who has managed to avoid adequate jail time simply because he has money, power and influence. That’s a sad truth. The wealthy and powerful can move forward without adequate consequences for heinous crimes, and because Mayweather is still a huge moneymaker, Showtime (CBS-owned) and the assortment of boxing authorities have seemingly never batted an eye.
Throughout his career, Mayweather was never suspended by any of the four major boxing authorities: the WBO, WBC, WBA or IBF. Boxing authorities rarely punish athletes for outside-the-ring behavior. That’s a problem in and of itself, but we can as a society offer our own form of suspension.
How? By not paying for the Mayweather/McGregor fight, by not tuning in, by not giving Floyd Mayweather a shred of the attention he so emphatically does not deserve.
What does it say about a society when we celebrate a man who’s spent his adult life abusing women with the very fists that propelled him to fame and fortune?
People often say you should try to separate the art from the artist. In some cases, that belief may hold water, but when I look at Mayweather in the ring, I don’t see an athlete at the top of his sport. I see a violent man who hasn’t faced adequate consequences for repeated assaults on women.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. will go down as one of the greatest boxers of all time. That much is certain. Because sports media, by and large, have brushed Mayweather’s lengthy, persistent history of abuse aside in order to capitalize on his talents, the narrative for Mayweather is unlikely to change. If anything, the talk of his “greatness” may even increase when he almost certainly will head back into retirement after fighting McGregor and reaching the undefeated, 50-0 plateau.
Mayweather will not go down as a man worthy of respect, however. That is also a certainty, and a much more important one at that. He has shown no remorse for his actions and has gone as far as to hide behind the line “Only God can judge me.”
Mayweather has even fashioned himself a defender of women. Leading up to a 2001 fight against Diego Corrales — who had just been convicted of physically assaulting his wife — Mayweather dedicated his performance to “all the battered women in the world.” A month later he showed his true colors, and he has continued to show them without shame or fallout ever since.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. thinks he’s invincible. He thinks the world should pay attention to his every move, but we should turn our backs. Keep in mind that the pro boxer’s arms have literally been groomed to be lethal weapons, and Mayweather has chosen time and again to use them to provoke fear and assert power over women.
Unless we’re talking about Floyd Mayweather Jr. the misogynistic abuser, these are the last words I have to say about him. His undefeated record is utterly meaningless to me, and I wish more people would start seeing him for what he really is.