Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: ‘Fight of the Century’ Pits Serial Woman Beater vs. Homophobe

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has risen to become the world's highest-paid athlete, despite a horrid history of domestic violence. (Photo: So Max O/Flickr Creative Commons)

Boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. has risen to become the world’s highest-paid athlete, despite a horrid history of domestic violence. (Photo: So Max O/Flickr Creative Commons)

It’s being billed as the ‘Fight of the Century,’ but this boxing fan won’t be paying up to tune in to tonight’s epic boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

How could I, or anyone who claims to care about women’s rights or LGBT rights, help enrich one man with an appalling history of domestic abuse and another who has repeatedly demonstrated his unabashed homophobia?

Today there were reports that Mayweather has barred CNN’s Rachel Nichols and ESPN’s Michelle Beadle, both of whom have criticized the champion for his violent out-of-the-ring history, from obtaining press credentials to cover Saturday night’s fight. Mayweather’s camp has denied the reporters’ allegations.

But what cannot be denied is that Mayweather is a serial batterer of women. For those of you who don’t know, here are some highlights, or should I say ‘lowlights,’ of his violent past, which includes at least seven assaults against five different women resulting in arrest or citation:

-In 2001, Mayweather got into a heated argument with Melissa Brim, the mother of his daughter, that ended in bloodshed. He struck Brim in the face with a car door before repeatedly punching her in the face. Mayweather took a plea deal and was wrist-slapped with a six-month suspended sentence, two days’ house arrest, a $3,000 fine and 48 hours of court-ordered community service.

-In 2004, Mayweather was convicted on two counts of misdemeanor battery and was again let off lightly with a one-year suspended sentence, 100 hours of community service and a $1,000 fine and counseling after he punched two women in the face and head in a Las Vegas nightclub.

-In 2010, Mayweather entered the home of a sleeping Josie Harris, the mother of three of his children, pulled her to the floor by her hair, then punched and kicked her while cursing her out, all in front of their children. Their oldest son managed to sneak out of the house and summon police. In another deal, Mayweather pleaded guilty to domestic assault and served two months of a three-month jail sentence.

Mayweather has shown no remorse when asked about these incidents. In a 2014 interview with CNN’s Nichols, one of the two female reporters who claim they’ve been banned from covering tonight’s fight, he insisted that there “were no pictures… just hearsay and allegations.”

Domestic violence is never justified. But what makes Mayweather’s crimes all the worse is the fact that he is a professional pugilist. He uses his fists to pummel opponents into submission. His hands are deadly weapons. Adding to the sense of injustice and impunity is the fact that other professional athletes who beat women have been punished, sometimes harshly, by their respective leagues. The indifference shown by boxing’s governing authorities speaks volumes; it’s almost as if professional boxing is saying it’s okay to be a batterer if you’re successful enough in the ring.

Mayweather will take home around $180 million from tonight’s fight as millions of people around the world dig deep into their pockets to meet the $100 pay-per-view fee and every seat of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas sells out. According to Forbes, Mayweather is the highest-paid athlete in the world.

Pacquiao, who has publicly stated his opposition to same-sex marriage equality (Mayweather, for what it’s worth, is pro-gay marriage) and who has repeatedly demonstrated a homophobic streak as wide as his trophy case, stands to earn about $120 million.

Which begs the question, what woman, LGBT person or any human being of conscience in their right mind would part with so much of their hard-earned cash to watch a domestic abuser throw down with a homophobe? Not this one, as much as I enjoy a good boxing match.

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