Floyd Mayweather may be the greatest fighter of his generation, but as a person, he is an unrepentant scumbag. Think about this: He gives the sport of boxing a bad name. Do you know how hard that is?
For the first time in his pro career, Mayweather will fight someone who may have the ability and skills to beat him.
“He kinda of picked his own opponents the whole time,” said Freddie Roach, the trainer of Mayweather’s opponent, Manny Pacquiao. “He’s picked and chosen who he wants to fight.”
Some that Mayweather picked and chose to fight have included women. A lot of them.
In the lead-up to Saturday night’s mega-fight, one of the hotter issues is the appalling list of domestic violence charges against Mayweather — and that a double standard exists for the likes of Mayweather over the likes of Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy, and others.
It is the same standard, but the degree of enforcement and penalty is rather disgusting. The standard exists because we allow it. Consuming sports and entertainment requires a degree of separation from the act and the person, but when it comes to Mayweather it is astounding that anybody can support this guy despite his brilliance as a fighter.
Sitting in the Sports Book at the Bellagio Hotel two nights before Pacquiao finally fights Mayweather, it struck me again that, while Mayweather has a serious issue, we are the bigger problem. We are the enablers. We are the addicts. We are offended by the actions of some, certainly not all, and do nothing but keep watching. We do nothing but consume.
We do because, collectively, we just don’t care.
On Friday afternoon at the weigh-in, Mayweather fans jammed the MGM Grand Arena eager to watch two almost-naked men be measured and then stare at the other. People paid $10 to watch this.
We pay lip service about taking action against domestic violence, and then turn around and do nothing about it. In fact, we are more likely to spend the $100 Saturday night to watch Mayweather fight on pay-per-view than ever do anything about domestic violence, or any other worthwhile cause.
In all, Mayweather has pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges three separate times. He served 60 days in jail in 2012 after he attacked the mother of his two sons, in front of them. He also either pleaded guilty or was found guilty on domestic violence charges in 2001, ’02 and ’03. He served suspended sentences and was under house arrest. If you get a chance, read the scathing report collected by Deadspin on this subject.
And he is the single most powerful and wealthiest individual athlete in the world.
Everyone should be granted second and third chances, but what is so alarming about Mayweather — and countless other cases — is that there is no change in behavior.
All of our favorite entertainers have flaws, and rooting for the anti-establishment, bad-boy rebel can be fun, but if a line is not drawn for this guy, that’s on us.
As much fun as it all is, and should be, there are days when watching this stuff requires a shower. Sports is stuffed with good guys, good people and inspirational acts of kindness, but the bad are the worst of the worst.
“I have often said that some of the best people I have met in my life are in boxing,” Thomas Hauser, longtime boxing writer and the unofficial biographer of Muhammad Ali, told me this week. “And some of the worst people I’ve met in my life are in boxing.”
Athletes, specifically boxers, have a long history of unruly behavior outside of the ring, but Mayweather has gone above and beyond the normal acceptable standard of awful.
“He’s a little, scared, small man,” former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson told the Undisputed Champion Network this week.
Tyson knows a few things about domestic violence. He was jailed for sexual assault in the ’90s.
The issue of domestic violence is not new, and is certainly not endemic to sports. It’s not like a battered women’s shelter houses a collection of girlfriends, wives, ex-wives and sidepieces of famous athletes.
Mayweather’s standard response is that God will be the judge. His other response to the many allegations and charges filed against him — a piece of evidence includes a chilling letter written by his young son about how he witnessed his dad repeatedly hit his mother — is that there are no photographs. Fortunately for Mayweather, in the state of Nevada, evidence can be destroyed.
He has made homophobic statements and brazenly flaunts his wealth in a way that would make even a Kardashian uncomfortable.
For this fight, Mayweather is projected to pocket more than $300 million. He is 38, and nearing the end of a career that in the ring has been perfect.
He has a track record as a shrewd businessman, a pragmatic promoter and a brilliant boxer. None of those qualities should overshadow the fact he has an equally long track record as an awful human being.
Consuming sports and entertainment will always force us to deal with the fact that some of our favorite teams and players do things that disappoint or sadden us. But if we can’t draw a line for a guy like Floyd Mayweather, that’s on us.
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Twitter: @macengelprof and The Big Mac Blog