by Joshua Piercey
Joshua Piercey reflects on life inside and outside the ring for boxer Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr. who having a built a career dodging punches, has also dodged long-term imprisonment for a string of violent offences against women. Joshua analyses why Mayweather Jr. has managed to evade justice and how giving perpetrators’ leniency is a catalyst in the ongoing battle against domestic violence.
It was billed as the fight of the century, two of the greatest boxers of our time, going head to head at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The anticipation of the fight between rags-to-riches scrapper Manny Pacquiao, and the vainglorious Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr. was undeniable.
Pacquiao was cast as the underdog, a role bestowed upon him by the boxing world, which has the capability of crafting the drama and publicity-friendly storyline, of any Hollywood director.
Mayweather Jr. played his villainous counterpart, powerful, undefeated and excessive, he was the boxer who was the favourite to win, that many wanted to see fall. Where the audience rooted for Pacquiao to triumph over the odds stacked against him, I had my own reasons for wanting to see Mayweather fail. In my eyes, he is a serial criminal having committed repeated domestic violence offences against women.
In terms of money, glamour and hype, it was truly the fight of the century. Over five million boxing fans paid up to 100$ to view the fight, while the boxers themselves were alleged to have split $300 million 60/40. Pacquiao pledged to donate half of his $80 million winnings to charity, while Mayweather allegedly agreed to put down the $10 million bail of Marion ‘Suge’ Knight, facing trial for murder and attempted murder of two men. Apart from highlighting the polarised priorities of the highest ranking boxers in the world, this is an example of Mayweather using his high public profile and fortune to bypass the law.
Despite being caught on the wrong side of the law on many occasions, Mayweather has been given extreme leniency for repeated violent offences. He has a long and ugly history of criminality, stretching over a decade. He’s assaulted at least five different women, picking up seven arrests or citations in the process but in exchange for guilty pleas and no contests, many other charges against him have been dropped. He’s done time for a misdemeanour battery charge, but arguably not enough. Mayweather served 60 days out of a 90 day sentence for this offence but the ruling judge even permitted him to postpone his sentence in order to fight Miguel Cotto.
Mayweather’s rap sheet is bewildering to behold, not least because the crimes took place during a period any other perpetrator would have been imprisoned.
His unrepentant criminal career has not gone unnoticed. It’s not so much the elephant in the room as the elephant smashing up the buffet. It is known, and the fact that it’s largely unremarked, has not gone unremarked. But acknowledging something reprehensible is not the same as doing something to address it. This is not the fault of commentators, but the law who has failed to deliver justice on the account of Mayweather’s profitability.
It’s undeniable that Mayweather’s value to boxing is part of what keeps him on the streets – his financial contribution to the city of Las Vegas and beyond, was cited by the judge as the reason his time in jail was postponed. Mayweather makes obscene amounts of money – for everyone, from cab drivers and hotel porters, to journalists who write articles – and jailing him would negatively impact this. Should extenuating circumstances have a limit? Yes, and it is the duty of those who enforce the law to impose those limits.
The law should not be bent in any cases of domestic abuse, no matter who the perpetrator is. It should be enforced – rigidly. Mayweather is representative of a wider problem – domestic abuse is demonstrably an epidemic, especially in America, and prosecution and imprisonment rates do not match the number of crimes being committed. Mayweather is the avatar of something very ugly. We can only hope that a delayed onset of public outrage creeps in, but in order for the public to fulfill this moral obligation, the example must be set by the law and the judicial system.
The details of Mayweather’s time behind bars makes for interesting reading. Without an entourage, he comes across as lost, petulant, childish. He refuses to eat his meals, surviving off candy. He bribes other inmates for favours. He acts, tellingly, like a man who has never been punished and is now struggling to deal with consequences he has never learned to expect.
Like it or not, Mayweather is a role model. But there is a story beyond what he does in the ring. And for that story to have any value or integrity, Mayweather should face justice, and if that has an impact on his ability to fight and make money, then so be it. Mayweather is a poor role model, but perhaps he could be a good lesson – to those who claim to represent the law, not just those who have to follow it. And to us, the people who should have let what we know to be morally indefensible, crush our enthusiasm for the fight of the century.
I knew that Mayweather was a serial abuser. I should have boycotted the fight.