Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Mayweather has much to think about in jail
By Dan Rafael
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his team were obviously quite confident that he wouldn't be seriously punished for the domestic violence charges he faced for an attack on his ex-girlfriend, Josie Harris, with whom he has children.
That's why just six weeks after Mayweather knocked out Victor Ortiz to win a welterweight title on Sept. 17, he announced that he planned to fight again on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas -- and that he wanted the biggest fight possible, meaning a long-awaited showdown with Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao, of course, outpointed Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12, seemingly clearing the path to the fight if the two sides could just get themselves to the bargaining table, an unusually massive hurdle.
There has been so much rumor and misinformation about supposed negotiations in recent weeks that it's impossible to know who to believe. My belief is that there haven't been real negotiations taking place. But whatever I believe or you believe, it makes no difference now.
The bottom line: There won't be a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight on May 5, and there won't be a Mayweather fight of any kind on that date. That's because Mayweather didn't just get a slap on the wrist this time, as he had in other cases he has been involved in.
Now he is being punished for real, something no boxing opponent has ever been able to do him inside the ring.
It probably wasn't a good idea to go and book a venue for May 5. With this case hanging over his head, it came off as arrogant. On Tuesday, Mayweather accepted a plea deal in the case. And on Wednesday, he was sentenced to six months in Nevada's Clark County Jail, three months of which were suspended. Since he had three days credit, Mayweather will serve 87 days in the same jail where his uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather, has also served time. He was ordered to report to jail on Jan. 6.
Judge Melissa Saragosa also ordered Mayweather to pay $2,500 in fines, attend domestic violence counseling for a year and perform 100 hours of community service.
But do the math on the jail sentence. It means Mayweather won't be out of the can until early April, which means there won't be a May fight. That means that if a fight with Pacquiao ever happens -- and I know I have my doubts -- it won't happen until next fall at the earliest.
After years of fans begging for Mayweather and Pacquiao to meet in the ring, maybe the fight is simply destined to never happen.
Top Rank's Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, never really seemed to want to make the fight in the first place, and Mayweather's sentence lets him off the hook. With Mayweather out of the picture, Arum can go right ahead and make a fourth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez in the spring.
When I called Arum for a reaction to Mayweather's sentencing, his reply was short and sweet.
"No comment, happy holiday," he said.
Then Arum hung up. And I never even had a chance to wish him Happy Hanukkah.
Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather's adviser, didn't answer his phone, so my next call was to Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer, who has promoted Mayweather's past five bouts.
Schaefer hadn't yet heard about Mayweather's sentencing, and sounded quite surprised when I told him the particulars. He also declined to comment.
So it was a rare day in boxing -- Arum and Schaefer both agreeing that they didn't want to comment. That has to be the upset of the year.
Whatever the promoters think, Mayweather is the one who has to figure out what he wants to do. He will be behind bars on Feb. 24, when he turns 35. For a fighter who relies on speed and reflexes, time is running out for him to make the fight with Pacquiao while they are both still elite fighters. Mayweather, who likes to brag about his Las Vegas "big boy mansion" and is now going to the big house, will have plenty of time to think about that while he's doing time.
Boxing fans are again left to mourn the fact that Pacquiao-Mayweather is the biggest tease in boxing history. Mayweather should spend some of his time thinking about his role in the continued ruination of a fight that would earn him $50 million or more as the biggest pay-per-view in history.
But he should also think long and hard about more important things while he's serving his time. Like, why couldn't he save his violence for the ring? And how did one of the world's most gifted athletes wind up locked up instead of being part of the biggest event in the sport?