Sport

Sport

Mayweather packs a (domestic) punch

Mayweather packs a (domestic) punch

With all the hype surrounding the Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao fight, it seems far too easy to ignore the fact that one of the fighters is a convicted abuser and a misogynist who has never been properly punished for his deeds. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.

Unless a sinkhole opens up or Floyd Mayweather decides to donate a large sum of his earnings to a charitable cause, preferably one fighting against domestic violence, there is no way the fight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao could ever live up to the hype that has surrounded it for the last five years. If you didn’t already feel inadequate about your meagre existence then dull your Thursday with the thought that Mayweather will earn more in the time the fight lasts than you will earn your entire life. He’s expected to pocket an estimated $120 million or an average of $4 million a minute if the fight manages to last for half an hour.

Tickets to the fight, which takes place in Las Vegas on 2 May, started at $1,500 and sold out in just 60 seconds. Tickets bought earlier are now being flogged for around $5,000 and floor seats are being pawned off for upwards of $100,000 each. Broadcasters estimate around four million people will spend $100 for the pay-per-view (PPV) privilege they are cashing in on, and that’s just in the US.

In the United Kingdom, SkySports will be showing it on pay-per-view, too, with customers shelling out up to up to £24.95 to watch the bout, the most expensive PPV in the broadcaster’s history. The money floating around and exchanging hands is enough to make your eyes pop out of your skull.

But there is one sobering truth that is far too easy to ignore for fans and broadcasters: Maywather is a misogynist of the worst kind. Last year, Dead Spin ran an article which details his abuses in all its gory details, but it is worth considering once again.

Since 2002, Mayweather has repeatedly faced accusations of domestic violence. On two occasions, he has pled guilty to such charges and has spent 60 days in jail (of a 90 day sentence) for an incident in 2010. According to a police report, when he beat the mother of his children, Mayweather “hit her in the back of the head, pulled her off a couch by her hair, and told her, ‘I’m going to kill you and the man you’re messing with’.”

None of these convictions seemed to have impacted on when, where and whom he is allowed to fight against. None of his convictions have had him banned by boxing regulators, unlike NFL star Ray Rice, for example, who served a lengthy suspension for his domestic violence incidents.

Some might say that Mayweather does not need to be banned because his time in jail means he has “served his time”. But records obtained from Mayweather’s time in prison paint a very different picture.

“I’m just hoping this time don’t have an infect on my job,” Mayweather writes. “Out of 168 hrs in a week I only get 5 hours out of my cell its just not right … I have not committed a felony so why am I being treated like a murderer or child predator?” [SIC]

Now, nobody expects boxers, or any sports person for that matter, to be saints or shining examples of human beings. It is not their responsibility to be role models. Sports people are human and humans are inherently flawed, but when people are in a position of power, they are often given a way to redeem themselves.

Mayweather has, on a number of occasions, dodged his part in domestic violence and has not repented for what he has done. Allowing Mayweather to perpetuate the selective memory of a violent past is dangerous because it sets a precedent. It can easily make other abuse survivors feel as if though there simply is no point in speaking up because the repercussions for the abuser are minimal. Glorifying him in the way the hype surrounding this fight does is doing massive harm to the fight against abuse or, simply, getting the victims of abuse to speak up.

His victims are largely ignored and the psychological damage done through shaming his victims – Mayweather said in a recent interview: “I’m black. I’m rich. And I’m outspoken. Those are three strikes right there. Did I restrain a woman that was on drugs? Yes, I did. So if they say that’s domestic violence, then, you know what? I’m guilty. I’m guilty of restraining a person.” 

The Guardian’s Melissa Jacobs expanded on these dangers in an interview with a domestic violence survivor.  

Boxing’s promoters lack a moral backbone. Not once has Mayweather been disciplined by anyone in boxing’s upper echelons because it simply isn’t in their monetary interests to do so. Welcome to world of business. He wasn’t even stripped of his WBC title when he was convicted and went to jail. It is galling for all the survivors of domestic abuse.

In the early hours of the morning over the weekend, millions of people will tune in to watch “The Fight of the Century” with a mostly clear conscience. Others will boycott it as a silent protest. Whatever happens, the fight will go ahead and those who are unsure will be drawn to the good versus evil narrative. 

Everyone makes mistakes, but taking responsibility for those mistakes is essential and Mayweather has not done that. His history of domestic violence is as big a part of his story as his fighting genius.

In this case, it’s too easy to ignore the terrible truths and look at the money instead. DM

Photo: Cups of coffee latte with the faces of Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao and American boxer Floyd Mayweather Junior at the Cafe and Cake Studio in Manila, Philippines, 23 April 2015. Filipino graphic artist and barista Zach Yonzon draws different faces on the top of a coffee latte upon costumers’ requests. EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO

Gallery

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options