Showtime cameras followed Floyd Mayweather between May 5 and August 5 last year, and caught the fighter battling himself, his out-of-the-ring demons, as he looked at a three months jail stint for having a fight with his ex. Mayweather was sentenced in December 2011 for a September 2010 incident involving the mother of three of his four kids and fight fans got to see him dealing with the looming incarceration up close and intimate, in an hour-long documentary called "30 Days in May."
In the opening scene, we see Floyd enroute to jail, on June 1. He complains to a pal that people stab people and get similar time, and that there were no marks on his ex. "Sometimes shit happens," he says, getting out of the 'woe is me' mode. Floyd heads into court, and he says that the time away will show him who's really in his corner. We see him cuffed, and led out of court.
Floyd, doing a voiceover, said he dreamed that he'd put butts in seats like Tyson, Ali, Sugar Ray. He gets his hands wrapped for the Miguel Cotto fight, does pads to get sweaty with Roger, heads into the ring. His pal 50 Cent's face is blurred out, as he strolls to the ring holding Floyd's belt. Did he not sign a release, or did Floyd ask for the blurrage as payback for their beef? We don't know.
The cameras saw Floyd showering, and we saw his butt. He said he drank Mountain Dew after his win and he washed three or four times to make sure he didn't have blood on him. Justin Bieber is seen chilling with Floyd's kids, and then with the boxer. "This is the future of entertainment," Floyd says, clapping Biebs.
Mayweather is asked postfight about a Pacquiao fight. He says he is his own boss and Pacman has a boss he answers to. Lamenting music, melancholic keyboards, play while Floyd heads to his pad. That musical tone hangs over basically the entire film, as the atmosphere isn't electric, charged, upbeat.
He sits on a sofa, muses 26 days before jail. "it's gonna be what it's gonna be," he says, his tightened face betraying an inner worry.
The family chows down, and we hear Floyd's mom Deborah Sinclair talks about tough times growing up. She doesn't like people mistaking his kindness for weakness, she says.
Mayweather says we do get wiser as we get older; I used to think that was a given, now I know better. It is implied that with him doing time at 35, this might not be the case for him, either.
We see stacks of green in the crib, and Hasim Rahman gushes about Money. They talk about who he'll fight next, Andre Berto or Victor Ortiz. Floyd says he thought about being richer than The Jackson when he was little; I guess he did beat Marlon, Randy, Tito, and Jermain, and of course, stacks aren't doing Michael any bit of good now.
He gets a mani and pedi and declares himself down to earth, getting zapped by a little Bravo style editing.
At the Mayweather Boxing Club, a cousin talks about growing up in Grand Rapids. A pal says that Floyd cares about training kids, and he "gives back." The pal says the fighter is good for Vegas, for the economy, mainly.
"I don't think I'm untouchable," he admits. "I think I'm blessed." He attends a Drake show and is mobbed by picture takers. "No one owes me nothing..but respect that's all I ask. I've been good to this city...not good, great," he says. He brings about a billion dollars in three days around fighttime, he supposes.
Floyd says there are a lot of leeches out there. He tells Drake to be true to himself, and thinks he can be a legend. He took his two boys and his daughter to see the entertainer and calls it a "great night."
The boxer says that he's often quiet. We see him watching a news story on his case, on his sentence being postponed. His missus, Miss Jackson, says she doesn't talk much about the stint. "I know it's on his mind," she says. "I honestly don't think he's ready," she says, haltingly, with refreshing candor. Being alone will be tough for him, she says, with him being a people pleaser.
He's outgoing when more people are around, with them two, it's mellow, she says. The stint could seem like "a lifetime" because he will be told what to do. He might chafe at being told what to do, she says. "I don't know how well that's gonna sit with Floyd," she says. "I think this time might change some thing. I think it will make him listen to himself more."
He talks about who is around him, friends, staff. Fifteen days before jail, he talks about hookups. He likens girls to cars, and says he can take care of a bunch of cars at the same time. Miss Jackson says she lets him be him, and that's cool.
Floyd says people judge without knowing him. He goes on a radio show, in Atlanta, and they marvel over his husky bodyguard. They ask about his "vacation" coming up. He says he will turn the negative into a positive and live in the moment.
He hits a strip club, and throws cash at girl's bum. In a hotel room, Floyd dances and half naked and fully naked ladies prance about. He poses and makes muscles while hotties grind around him. Pal Jackie Long says he hooks his pals up with trips, and lots of goodies. We see Floyd's closet, and he has tons of clothes.
In another hotel room, after clubbing, Floyd and the gang chills. "If you smoke marijuana, just don't do it around me," he says. He doesn't drink, he says, and that's why he's lasted so long, he says. "Why shouldn't I have fun," he asks. "I play hard, I'm going to work harder, so, I like to play."
He says when the party fades, he's still comfortable.
Ten days before jail, he is seen. Mom says "he's learning."
He is seen with Bieber, during his daughter's birthday bash. Then he plays some blackjack and cashes in chips. A guy comes up to him and asks, "Can you punch my wife in the face?" and he grimaces, as he's exiting a casino.
Floyd is now in the weight room. Then, in a pool, Floyd says HBO is "foul." He says he is seen like a prostitute, and knows he will get dumped when he's not fresh.
He's the most powerful person in boxing, he says, as we see him on D day, the night he's headed to Clark County Detention. He juggles some bill stacks, goofs around, and a pal says that Floyd seems fine with doing the stint.
Uncle Roger says he is sort of unclear on what happened to land Floyd in jail. The sun rises, and Floyd says maybe he's getting punished for something else he's done in his life. He gets his head shaved and rails against his sentence. He says he won't be rude in jail, and will conduct himself "like a gentleman." Miss Jackson says Floyd didn't do the crime and shouldn't do the time. "How can a lie get so far," she says. Do they not like him, maybe because he's black and successful? "I think, is that really what it is?"
He hands out cash to a few folks, and is in a car, headed to the pokey. Being black, rich and outspoken means there are three strikes against him in the court, he says. He says the charges are trumped up, and in cuffs, is ushered to the pen.
Miss Jackson says she thought maybe he'd get a slap on the wrist, like Lindsay Lohan. We hear a TV news show talking about his lawyers' appeal to soften his time, because he complained about the conditions. Another pal says the charges weren't righteous.
We see a local NBC report talking about his release, which came a month early.
He says he didn't care about money in the pen, he just cared about being free, about walking in the park. He said he asked every night to be let out. "I got through it," he said. He exits the center, and hugs his pals and kids. He drives away, a camera in the back seat. "That was the best night of my life," he says, better than winning a title. "You can't stop me," he repeats, jacked up, while driving home. He insists he's a different person, but he says he got madder and madder in jail. "Mentally I'm effed up from the situation," he said.
He gets a pedi, chows, and rails still about the stint. He doesn't care about the backlash, he says. "Tough times don't last, tough people do," he says.
My takeaways: Props to Showtime for getting all this material. I don't believe it changed how I see Floyd much if at all. He didn't show a much softer side, let down the guard, admit to fears and insecurities. He did admit that he prayed to get out of jail, but we knew with his request for better conditions that he wasn't caring for the term. We knew he didn't agree with the sentence and that all along, he's protested that his ex didn't have any marks on her, and that the absence of marks indicates an absence of guilt. The biggest helping of candor came from Miss Jackson, who admitted she didn't know if he was ready to be away from the adoring posse, in a place where he wasn't in control. I'd be curious to know how he reacted to her candor. My wife took in some of the material, pronounced Floyd a not nice word, and left the room. I think that's sort of mission accomplished for him; he's a button pusher, and when he fights Robert Guerrero next month, my wife will be watching, rooting for Guerrero to lay some humility on Mayweather.
Your thoughts, readers?
Feel free to follow Woods on Twitter.