Mayweather: Champion of What?

It was a great fight Saturday night.  Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been widely reported as the most highly paid athlete in any sport, period. He threw out his agents and handlers to prevent getting robbed and, as a result, makes $40 million a fight before endorsement deals.

But wait a second, the fight wasn’t the only show on the Strip Saturday night.  There’s a one man tell all show of a former champ who raped women and beat anything that moved in and out of the ring.  He’s name is Mike Tyson.  He did time for his offenses and has, amazingly, turned the corner enough to do a TV series about his love for pigeons and do a show in which he gets brutally honest about his mistakes.  Mayweather, apparently, didn’t see the show.

The Wednesday before the fight, “Mayweather, 34, stood still in a striped olive vest and showed no reaction as the judge sentenced him to six months in the Clark County jail then suspended half the term,” according to ESPN.  The case stemmed from a hair-pulling, punching and arm-twisting argument with his ex-girlfriend Josie Harris while two of their children watched in September 2010. (There’s a chilling video of Harris being taken away on a stretcher after the fight here).

Questions (no answers from this corner):

Did the Vegas judge delay putting Mayweather in jail so he could fight for the sake of state revenue?

Is the sentence of 90 days really appropriate for beating a woman in front of her kids?

Why do championship boxers have to be animals outside the ring?

Coming on top of Junior Seau’s suicide, have we turned our male athletes into disposable gladiators?

According to ESPN, Mayweather has been arrested several times since 2002 in battery and violence cases in Las Vegas and in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich.

He was convicted in 2002 of misdemeanor battery stemming from a fight with two women at a Las Vegas nightclub. He received a suspended one-year jail sentence and was ordered to undergo impulse-control counseling.

He was fined in Grand Rapids in February 2005 and ordered to perform community service after pleading no contest to misdemeanor assault and battery for a bar fight.

He was acquitted by a Nevada jury in July 2005 after being accused of hitting and kicking Harris during an argument outside a Las Vegas nightclub.

About Tom Matlack

Thomas Matlack is a venture capitalist.


  1. Mayweather’s behavior is exasperating, Tom, but do you really have enough data for all these judgments?
    Mayweather may fly off the handle—hitting people is his gift—but these altercations outside the ring may have started with belligerence on both sides.

    All we know about him is what we get from the media. That’s so far from complete that it’s fair to doubt there even is a Floyd Mayweather.

    It would be nice to know more, but if we did, it would probably make us philosophical, not critical. Half the moral crusades in this country might collapse from the loss of excitement.

  2. Coming on top of Junior Seau’s suicide, have we turned our male athletes into disposable gladiators?
    In short yes. Look at how men are trained from an early age. Playing sports almost as soon as they can walk. Given special status at school because they are athletes. Having their bodies put on display (look at weigh ins and contract signings that take place before fights). Being allowed to get away with stuff that non celebrities could only dream of. Pretty much forced to perform in order to not have all that money, power, and fame taken away. Getting tossed to the side like old food if they suffer a career ending injury. Having people only care about you as long as you perform well or have the money to buy their attention but otherwise not giving a damn if you lose your humainity and sanity in the process.

    Yes I would say that gladiator is pretty fitting word for today’s athletes.

  3. It may be that the process that creates a great professional fighter also creates a person who is willing and able to use violence in other areas of his life.

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