Floyd Mayweather and Ray Rice

floyd-mayweather

Floyd Mayweather fought a rematch on Saturday night against Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Pre-fight tracking suggests that pay-per-view buys were disappointing and, once again, Showtime will lose millions of dollars on a Mayweather event.

But the ring action and pay-per-view numbers aren’t the most important story surrounding Mayweather-Maidana II. Their first fight was contested on May 3, 2014 (four days after Floyd’s foot-in-mouth comments regarding the racist remarks made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling) (http://bit.ly/YLxmqn). Mayweather-Maidana II was intertwined with another important social issue: violence against women.

Over the years, Mayweather has had significant issues with women and the criminal justice system. In 2002, he pled guilty to two counts of domestic violence. In 2004, he was found guilty on two counts of misdemeanor battery for assaulting two women in a Las Vegas night club. Then, on December 21, 2011, again in Las Vegas, Judge Melissa Saragosa sentenced Mayweather to ninety days in the Clark County Detention Center after he pled guilty to a battery domestic violence charge involving Josie Harris (the mother of three of his children) and no contest to two charges of harassment. According to the indictment, the battery domestic violence involved grabbing Harris by the hair, throwing her to the floor, striking her with his fist, and twisting her arm in front of two of the children. The harassment included threatening to kill Harris and her then-boyfriend or make her and the boyfriend “disappear.” Mayweather served 63 days of his ninety-day sentence after receiving 27 days off for good behavior.

More recently, on September 4 of this year, Shantel Jackson (Mayweather’s former fiancée) filed suit against him in California, claiming that Floyd assaulted her shortly after his release from prison. The suit includes causes of action for assault, battery, false imprisonment, harassment, defamation, and the infliction of emotional distress. Jackson reminds some observers of Robin Givens. Her attorney is the equally likable Gloria Allred.

One of the many troubling aspects of Mayweather’s conduct is the manner in which the powers that be have responded to it.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission didn’t suspend Mayweather’s license after he pled guilty to battery domestic violence. Judge Saragosa delayed the start of Floyd’s jail term so he could fight Miguel Cotto on May 5, 2012. Golden Boy continued to promote his fights. And World Boxing Council president Jose Sulaiman declared, “Beating a lady is highly critical [but] it is not a major sin or crime.”

HBO (which was televising Mayweather’s fights on HBO-PPV at the time) aired a special in which Michael Eric Dyson (a professor at Georgetown University) interviewed Floyd and compared him with Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as an oppressed black athlete that the system was trying to silence. The comparison with Brown seemed like the most appropriate of the three, given the fact that (despite an impressive record of community service and his status as possibly the greatest football player of all time), Brown once had the unfortunate habit of being physically abusive toward woman and, in one instance, threw a woman off a hotel balcony. But that awkward circumstance went unmentioned, as did the two previous Mayweather convictions involving violence against women.

“Martin Luther King went to jail,” Mayweather told Dyson. “Malcolm X went to jail. Am I guilty? Absolutely not. I took a plea. Sometimes they put us in a no-win situation to where you don’t have no choice but to take a plea. I didn’t want to bring my children to court.”

Dyson then segued to the idea that there was a ”racially-based resentment” against Mayweather and declared, “I think about Jay-Z on Ninety-Nine Problems, when he goes – the cop asks him a question, and he says – ‘Are you mad at me because I’m young, rich, and I’m famous and I’m black. Do you got a problem with that?’”

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Dyson’s interview with Mayweather is another piece of the puzzle in the ongoing cycle of domestic violence against women, particularly in the African-American community. And in the interest of equal time, it should be noted that Showtime (Mayweather’s current home) has also been derelict in its response to Floyd’s conduct toward women.

That brings us to former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

As the world knows, Rice was arrested on February 15 of this year (and later indicted for third-degree aggravated assault) after punching his fiancée (now his wife) and knocking her unconscious in an elevator at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Rice agreed to enter a pre-trial intervention program (which, if satisfactorily completed, would lead to dismissal of the criminal charges against him). On July 24, he was suspended for two games by National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell, who seemed intent on brushing the incident aside. Thereafter, Goodell was widely criticized for the leniency of the punishment. On August 28, he admitted that his response to the occurrence had been inadequate and announced that, henceforth, acts of domestic violence or sexual assault by NFL players or any other league personnel would be met by a six-game suspension with a second offense calling for a minimum suspension of one year.

Then, on September 8, TMZ posted a surveillance-camera video of the punch. Videos do more than confirm that an incident occurred. They have the potential to imprint the gruesome nature of a violent act on the consciousness of the nation. The public was already aware that Rice had punched his fiancée in an elevator. The video made it “real” and ignited a firestorm of outrage. That same day, Rice’s contract was terminated by the Ravens and Goodell announced that Rice had been suspended by the NFL for a minimum of one year.

Then Mayweather had his say. On September 9, Floyd met with reporters after his “grand arrival” at the MGM Grand and was asked about Rice.

“I'm not here to say anything negative about him,” Mayweather answered. “Things happen. You live and you learn. No one is perfect.” Floyd also voiced the opinion, “They had said that they suspended him for two games. Whether they seen the tape or not, I truly believe that a person should stick to their word. If you tell me you're going to do something, do what you say you're going to do.”

“Have you seen the video?” a reporter asked.

“Oh, yeah. I seen the video.”

“It’s kind of disturbing,” the reporter pressed.

“I think there’s a lot worse things that go on in other people's households also,” Mayweather responded. “It's just not caught on video.”

“I wish Ray Rice nothing but the best,” Mayweather continued. “I know he's probably going through a lot right now because football is his passion. Football is his love. It's no different from me being in the fight game. If they told me, ‘Floyd, you got the biggest deal in sports history' and a couple of months later they say, ‘Your deal is taken away from you.' Oh, man. It's not really just the money; it's the love for the sport.”

Then, further referencing his own history, Mayweather declared, “With my situation, no bumps, no bruises, no nothing. With O.J. and Nicole, you seen pictures. With Chris Brown and Rihanna, you seen pictures. With Ochocinco and Evelyn, you seen pictures. You guys have yet to see any pictures of a battered woman; a woman that claims she was kicked and beat [by me].”

Mayweather’s comments elicited a strong response.

“It’s impossible to hear that and not feel sick to your stomach,” Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated wrote. “The implication is enormous: Other men beat their wives worse, so what’s a woman in an elevator knocked out cold. Mayweather will fight in another casino this weekend. The MGM Grand will host the proceedings. It’s Mayweather plastered on the side of the hotel, his likeness stretching for dozens of stories above a sign that reads ‘Home of the Champion.’ Showtime Pay-Per-View will televise the bout. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be pocketed. It would be shocking if the same network and casino executives who opened their arms to Mayweather – and the money his fights produce – have not condemned Rice this week. Everybody has. But there’s an obvious double-standard involved here, and one highlighted by Mayweather himself, in the one part of his comments that rang true. In Rice’s case, there is a video. In most cases of domestic violence, there is not. The tangible evidence, the way anyone with a television or Internet connection can see Rice load up, swing his left fist, and crumple the woman he wanted to and did marry to the floor, somehow made it more real to the public. But it’s not more real. It’s just more visible, more visceral.”

On September 9, reacting the outrage over his comments (and possibly, their potential to turn off would-be pay-per-view buyers), Mayweather issued a non-apologetic apology.

“If I offended anyone, I apologize,” Mayweather said. “I didn't mean to offend anyone, and I apologize to the NFL and anyone else that got offended.”

Maybe boxing fans should be thankful that Floyd didn’t wear a Ray Rice jersey into the ring on Saturday night.

To repeat what I’ve written in the past: Somewhere in the United States tonight, a young man who thinks that Floyd Mayweather is a role model will beat up a woman. Maybe she’ll walk away with nothing more than bruises and emotional scars. Maybe he’ll kill her.

                                                                     * * *

And a note on the fight —

Floyd Mayweather showed once again in his rematch against Marcos Maidana that he’s a very good fighter.

Maidana is not what Lennox Lewis used to refer to “a pugilistic specialist.” He’s a brawling straight-ahead fighter who, two years ago, was outboxed for ten out of ten rounds by Devon Alexander. Paulie Malignaggi once observed, “You learn in the first six months in the gym what you need to beat Maidana. After that, it’s just a matter of practicing till you get it right.”

In Mayweather-Maidana I, Marcos fought with passion. This time, he fought like a man who was showing up for a paycheck.

Mayweather is physically stronger than Maidana and far more skilled. On Saturday night, he kept the action in the center of the ring, controlling both distance and tempo. Also, Floyd knows how to take care of himself on the inside. He holds. He’s rough. He uses his forearms and elbows well. And he’s a fifteen-round fighter, who tires less than his opponent as a fight goes on. Marcos seemed to tire early on Saturday night.

The only real drama came in round eight when Mayweather pushed Maidana’s head down in a clinch, jammed his glove into Marcos’s face, and then complained to referee Kenny Bayless that Maidana bit his glove. Two rounds later, Bayless took a point away from Marcos for using his forearm to push Floyd to the canvas in a clinch. That made the judges’ final tally 116-111, 116-111, 115-112 in Floyd’s favor (which was generous to Maidana).

In a post-fight interview, Jim Gray pressed Mayweather about fighting Manny Pacquiao in his next outing. Perhaps that reflected the unhappiness of Les Moonves (president and CEO of CBS Corporation, which owns Showtime) with another multi-million-dollar loss on a Mayweather fight.

Mayweather told Gray that he’s open to the possibility. But for years, Floyd has found reasons not to fight Pacquiao. Most likely, he will continue to do so.

Here, the thoughts of Sugar Ray Leonard are instructive.

“Highly anticipated fights are what made boxing what it was,” Leonard told Steve Kim earlier this year. “When these fights don't take place, no question, it bothers me. I could not see myself not fighting Tommy Hearns. I could not see myself not fighting Roberto Duran.”

Leonard, it should be noted, came out of retirement to fight Marvin Hagler.

Meanwhile, Mayweather says all the time that he’s his own boss. Virtually every fighter wants to face him because of the money involved, so Floyd can make any fight he wants happen. That’s why the onus is on him if there’s no Mayweather vs. Pacquiao at 147 pounds and no Mayweather vs. Gennady Golovkin at 154.

Floyd is building his legend on YouTube and Twitter. The real greats of boxing – fighters like Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and the two Sugar Rays (Robinson and Leonard) – fought the toughest available opposition and built their legend in the ring.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at thauser@rcn.com. His most recent book (Reflections: Conversations, Essays, and Other Writings) was published by the University of Arkansas Press.

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Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-SouthPawFlo :

Good Article


-leon30001 :

Maywather's inconsistency is infuriating; why is he now open to that fight, whereas he had previously categrically stated that he'd never work with Arum? What has changed between then and now? And why was Arum not an obstacle when the drug-testing was the alleged problem? And when Floyd phoned Pacquiao to offer a flat fee of $40 mil? Can anyone answer that? Any of his defenders, I mean? In a cogent, logical way?


-Froggy :

leon30001 theres all kinds of people who can answer that question, but when you narrowed it down to his defenders, I don't think you will get many if any answers !


-The Shadow :

Maywather's inconsistency is infuriating; why is he now open to that fight, whereas he had previously categrically stated that he'd never work with Arum? What has changed between then and now? And why was Arum not an obstacle when the drug-testing was the alleged problem? And when Floyd phoned Pacquiao to offer a flat fee of $40 mil? Can anyone answer that? Any of his defenders, I mean? In a cogent, logical way?
Easy. A lot changed between 2009 and 2012. And I'm not a defender, nor defending either guy. I'm just telling it like it is. Arum was always a problem. However it became unbearable after they bent over backwards to make the fight, realizing the old man never had any intention of making it in the first place. So in essence he was piggy backing while also imploring the public to boycott Mayweather's pay-per-views. Just like he's doing now to draw attention to his event. Does that sound like someone looking to do business? The reality is this: Arum is pissed Mayweather left before he could cash in on the Money Train. Bob Arum is one of the most vindictive men in boxing. He's also one of the smartest businessmen around. Make no mistake about it: Floyd wants it. I truly believe Manny wants it. Here's the reason why it won't, unless things change drastically. "Bad business for him."
Mayweather is tired of beating a dead horse. They ask the same questions and "y'all will keep getting the same answers."


-Skibbz :

I can't wait for this fight to happen. Although I am a pessimist in most situations, Mayweather vs Pacquiao is a fight that I will always believe possible till the very end. My beacon of hope is put out by the notion that the best still do fight the best, and although the fight has been supposedly frozen under permafrost, I still hold out in my blissful ignorance that one day these two champions will square off and decide whom is truly the best of this era. If they do not, I will rest my own personal blame for the falterings on the side with the most power in negotiations, the so-called A side. The side with the lesser power is not blind in the negotiations and would obviously not take a smaller slice of the cake than they feel entitled too, we must remember that this fight is in all probability going to be the highest earning single boxing event in history, a fact not hidden from anyone. But, as I have said I still hold out hope. It will be one of the greatest 36 minutes of boxing ever to be recorded and one of those rare moments that people will be able to recall where they were when it happened. Certainly the greatest fight of this era.


-The Shadow :

I can't wait for this fight to happen. Although I am a pessimist in most situations, Mayweather vs Pacquiao is a fight that I will always believe possible till the very end. My beacon of hope is put out by the notion that the best still do fight the best, and although the fight has been supposedly frozen under permafrost, I still hold out in my blissful ignorance that one day these two champions will square off and decide whom is truly the best of this era. If they do not, I will rest my own personal blame for the falterings on the side with the most power in negotiations, the so-called A side. The side with the lesser power is not blind in the negotiations and would obviously not take a smaller slice of the cake than they feel entitled too, we must remember that this fight is in all probability going to be the highest earning single boxing event in history, a fact not hidden from anyone. But, as I have said I still hold out hope. It will be one of the greatest 36 minutes of boxing ever to be recorded and one of those rare moments that people will be able to recall where they were when it happened. Certainly the greatest fight of this era.
Who wins?


-Skibbz :

I can't wait for this fight to happen. Although I am a pessimist in most situations, Mayweather vs Pacquiao is a fight that I will always believe possible till the very end. My beacon of hope is put out by the notion that the best still do fight the best, and although the fight has been supposedly frozen under permafrost, I still hold out in my blissful ignorance that one day these two champions will square off and decide whom is truly the best of this era. If they do not, I will rest my own personal blame for the falterings on the side with the most power in negotiations, the so-called A side. The side with the lesser power is not blind in the negotiations and would obviously not take a smaller slice of the cake than they feel entitled too, we must remember that this fight is in all probability going to be the highest earning single boxing event in history, a fact not hidden from anyone. But, as I have said I still hold out hope. It will be one of the greatest 36 minutes of boxing ever to be recorded and one of those rare moments that people will be able to recall where they were when it happened. Certainly the greatest fight of this era.
[QUOTE=The Shadow;64406]Who wins?[/QUOTE] That's not a question I will answer with my mind but rather with my heart. And for me the answer is Manny Pacquiao. How about yourself?


-The Shadow :

That's not a question I will answer with my mind but rather with my heart. And for me the answer is Manny Pacquiao. How about yourself?
The promoters! I think Mayweather wins. I also think the fight will be a huuuuuuuuge letdown if/when it happens. The hype has been so strong and persistent, it's almost impossible to live up to the expectations.


-Skibbz :

I mean what are people expecting.. The event happening alone is surely the height of all expectations for the majority of people... I don't assume that people believe Floyd will KO Manny Pacquiao, and equally won't expect Manny to do what hasn't been done to Floyd either in terms of being left on the canvas. However what I believe people will be treated to will be a phenomenal event and a fight in which two of the sport's brightest pupils go head to head, a fight of that magnitude can not be a disappointment for the best is facing the best and for the fans only good comes from that situation.


-leon30001 :

Mayweather was saying he'd never work with Arum a matter of a few weeks ago! What has changed in the interim? Specifically?


-brownsugar :

Specifically ....a ton of bad press and Floyd being cast as the face of domestic violence has placed Mayweather in the unenviable position of having to make compromises and concessions. One CNN newscaster asked Floyd to explain and defend his multiple convictions in a 30 second time slot... . When Floyd didnt go for the bait she turnoff his video feed and said he was in denial. She also advised potential buyers to spend their money elsewhere. I'd say Floyd needs either Khan, Cotto, or Pac if he wants to earn any further lucrative paydays.


-The Shadow :

I mean what are people expecting.. The event happening alone is surely the height of all expectations for the majority of people... I don't assume that people believe Floyd will KO Manny Pacquiao, and equally won't expect Manny to do what hasn't been done to Floyd either in terms of being left on the canvas. However what I believe people will be treated to will be a phenomenal event and a fight in which two of the sport's brightest pupils go head to head, a fight of that magnitude can not be a disappointment for the best is facing the best and for the fans only good comes from that situation.
It will be a massive event for sure. Part of the intrigue, I think, is the possibility of Mayweather losing as much as it's the "best facing the best." I'd love to see it, though.


-The Shadow :

Mayweather was saying he'd never work with Arum a matter of a few weeks ago! What has changed in the interim? Specifically?
Nothing changed. He said the fight can happen if it's promoted by Mayweather and broadcasted by Showtime PPV.


-Carmine Cas :

Specifically ....a ton of bad press and Floyd being cast as the face of domestic violence has placed Mayweather in the unenviable position of having to make compromises and concessions. One CNN newscaster asked Floyd to explain and defend his multiple convictions in a 30 second time slot... . When Floyd didnt go for the bait she turnoff his video feed and said he was in denial. She also advised potential buyers to spend their money elsewhere. I'd say Floyd needs either Khan, Cotto, or Pac if he wants to earn any further lucrative paydays.
I agree, but I'm going to narrow it down to Khan or Pac, Cotto as well but less than the former. We've seen the Cotto fight, but his status as MW champion and Roach in his corner add intrigue. But with Khan and Pacquiao they bring the speed factor into the fight, and of course popularity (Khan more so across the pond). And as well as never fighting him. I agree with you BSug, the bad press is going to hurt the pockets of Floyd. Vegas is losing money on him too now, less people are betting.


-Carmine Cas :

Nothing changed. He said the fight can happen if it's promoted by Mayweather and broadcasted by Showtime PPV.
I believe Floyd would stick by his word in regards to those to stipulations, but Mayweather promotions promoting the event is an obstacle. We all know that Pacquiao is loyal to Arum. He needs to work with Top Rank, and HBO and Showtime need to pressure these guys into making the events, because at the end of the day numbers are going to decline.


-leon30001 :

Mayweather: "I will never do business with Bob Arum again in [my] life, and Pacquiao is Bob Arum?s fighter"...so when Floyd said he was open to the fight, did he mean still only on the condition Pac gets a new promoter? That's a genuine question. I thought he was intimating it can happen wither way.


-The Shadow :

Mayweather: "I will never do business with Bob Arum again in [my] life, and Pacquiao is Bob Arum’s fighter"...so when Floyd said he was open to the fight, did he mean still only on the condition Pac gets a new promoter? That's a genuine question. I thought he was intimating it can happen wither way.
Yeah, it's a very legitimate question. It's hard to say, I think they might explore a one-fight exemption. I honestly don't see how it can happen given the fact that he's signed to an exclusive deal with HBO and Top Rank. Too many obstacles. I do see it being a possibility for 2016 if/once Mayweather makes it to 49-0.


-amayseng :

Pac vs Floyd will NEVER happen. In case you missed it at the end of round 3 Chino knocked Floyds tooth out of his mouth with a jab right hand out speeding Floyds counter straight right hand.... Floyd is feeling the effects of aging and being old. The fight game is no longer fun for him, he has to really dig down deep to endure it even though he won handedly saturday... And look how much clinching and stalling he had to do to do it.. He wont be able to tie pac up like that, not with pacs footwork and agility. No way floyd fights pac, it would be too tough a fight for him at 38 years old....


-Froggy :

Pac vs Floyd will NEVER happen. In case you missed it at the end of round 3 Chino knocked Floyds tooth out of his mouth with a jab right hand out speeding Floyds counter straight right hand.... Floyd is feeling the effects of aging and being old. The fight game is no longer fun for him, he has to really dig down deep to endure it even though he won handedly saturday... And look how much clinching and stalling he had to do to do it.. He wont be able to tie pac up like that, not with pacs footwork and agility. No way floyd fights pac, it would be too tough a fight for him at 38 years old....
The only way he fights Pacquiao is if he wants to set PPV records and make a record amount of money instead of keeping the big O on his record !


-Carmine Cas :

If I'm not mistaken, Pacquiao does not have an exclusive contract with HBO. It's TR, and the two parties need to work that out because both fighters are bringing in less money.


-The Shadow :

If I'm not mistaken, Pacquiao does not have an exclusive contract with HBO. It's TR, and the two parties need to work that out because both fighters are bringing in less money.
Yes, he does, CC. In fact, HBO fronted the money on the signing bonus.


-thegreyman :

I'm with Amayseng on this one. I was sceptical to the extreme before Chino II, but after the fight I'm certain he'll never fight Pac. Floyd's attitude was one of a man who has had more than enough. He did not want to be in that ring, whether it had been Chino, Khan or Pac facing him would have made little difference- Floyd just doesn't want to fight any more. As soon as the bell for the 12th rang, Floyd was thinking 'job done' and proceeded to flee danger, with his mind firmly fixed on that $38 million. Was that his attitude in the 12th when he fought De La Hoya? No, because back then he cared about his future in the ring- he wanted to win in style, give a show to the fans and see out his personal rivalry with Oscar. He wanted to get bigger, gain new fans and earn more praise. In that round, Floyd fought to the finish. Floyd doesn't think like that now- he's strictly doing a job. You don't fight like that if you want to expand your fan base, or even if you want to preserve it. He doesn't give two hoots about his own reputation or public perception any more, beyond what is necessary to promote the next fight. He is a hungry promoter in the body of a reluctant fighter. A toxic mix.


-thegreyman :

Not that I'd want to see the now. Both guys well past their respective primes- it would be a mockery of itself.


-Skibbz :

You turn your nose at potentially the biggest boxing bout in history because you believe it is over ripe. Well they may no longer be spring chickens or men in their prime but a fight between to veterans with such needle is one that I would never turn down. How could a true fan possibly decline such an event, it defies reason. Whilst they are still active we should still hold hope, after that we can steel ourselves to the disappointment, but not sooner.