The fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao is one of the most anticipated matches of all time. Tickets to the fight in Las Vegas on May 2, which started at $1500, sold out in 60 seconds. (The cheapest ticket currently available on StubHub is over $5,000. Floor seats are going for more than $100,000 each.) As many as 4 million people will spend around $100 to watch the fight on Pay-Per-View. The fighters are expected to divide up roughly $300 million for 36 minutes of work.
But along with the hype is a sobering truth: one of the fighters, Floyd Mayweather, has a long and disturbing history of domestic violence. The best overview of Mayweather’s history is this article by Deadspin, which is worth reading in its entirety. In short, Mayweather has been repeatedly accused of domestic violence since 2002. He has pled guilty to domestic violence charges twice, recently spending 90 days in jail stemming from an incident in 2010. (In a third case he was convicted of domestic violence but the conviction was later vacated.)
The details of Mayweather’s conduct are horrifying. In the 2010 case, for example, Mayweather was convicted of domestic violence against the mother of three of his children, Josie Harris. According to the police report, “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.”
Somehow, none of Mayweather’s conduct — some of which he has admitted to — has resulted in any suspension from boxing regulators. Athletes like the NFL’s Ray Rice have faced lengthy suspensions for domestic violence incidents that did not result in criminal convictions.
Despite Mayweather’s past, could it be that today there is a “new” Floyd Mayweather? Perhaps he has served his time and genuinely regrets his conduct. ESPN’s Outside The Lines caught up with Mayweather at a press event for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight and confronted him on his history with domestic violence. In the short interview, Mayweather did not express any remorse or even answer the questions posed to him. Instead, he urges fans to order the Pay-Per-View:
Even though he pled guilty, Mayweather continues to defend his conduct as reasonable. In an interview with Katie Couric earlier this month, Mayweather said, “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 someone.”
ESPN’s Keith Olbermann has called for fans to boycott the fight over Mayweather’s history. Sarah Spain, a writer and radio personality for ESPN, called for a boycott of Mayweather’s previous fight. “[W]e should have a visceral reaction when a convicted abuser asks us to pay $78 apiece to watch him fight,” Spain wrote last September.
Other than the price of the fight, not much has changed since then.