Sports News

Boxer Mayweather's violent history ignored, women's advocates say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - While world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather prepares for his May 2 bout against Manny Pacquiao, women’s advocates believe his history of domestic violence is merely a footnote to the biggest fight in years.

Mayweather hit his ex-girlfriend in front of two of their children in 2010, resulting in a 90-day prison sentence, just one incident highlighting his turbulent relationships with women.

“Floyd Mayweather has a terrible history of domestic violence, the list goes on and on and on,” USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, who often writes about women’s issues in sports, told Reuters.

“It’s amazing to me that very few people know about it or seem to care about it.”

The National Football League has come under fire over the last year for its handling of domestic violence cases and responded by strengthening its sanctions against offenders. The National Basketball Association and National Hockey League are closely watching offenders in its ranks and cracking down.

Yet boxing never punished the 38-year-old Mayweather, who stands to make up to $180 million next Saturday.

Former Olympic swimming champion Nancy Hogshead, who is now chief executive of Champion Women, an advocacy group for girls and women in sports, said Mayweather has gotten “a pass” on his history of domestic violence.

She said boxing promoters look the other way toward violence in the home.

“I’m not surprised about their attitude,” she said. “They won’t even try to make the sport safer, try to do what football is doing, trying to prevent cases of ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease) from the repeated hits to the head.”

Over the last decade, Mayweather has been accused of assaulting five different women in at least seven different incidents that resulted in arrest or citation.

AJ Maestes, president of the sports analytics firm Navigate Research, said boxing promoters “are desperate to get their guy on stage.”

“The sport of boxing needs something to stand out, they need a star to draw eyeballs,” he said. “The (mixed martial arts group) UFC is outperforming them on every measure.”

In a recent interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric, Mayweather denied hitting his ex-girlfriend for which pleaded guilty in 2011 to reduced misdemeanor charges and was sent to prison. He said he was merely trying to restrain her.

Mayweather suggested he was a target.

“I’m black, I’m rich and I’m outspoken,” he said. “Those are three strikes right there.”

Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Eric Beech