Friday, June 1, 2012
Mayweather's time has finally come
By Dan Rafael ESPN.com
As pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. was preparing to challenge Miguel Cotto for his junior middleweight title on May 5, there was another date a lot of people were interested in talking to him about:
That's today, the day Mayweather is due to report to the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, his hometown, to begin serving an 87-day sentence for domestic abuse against ex-girlfriend Josie Harris, the mother of three of Mayweather's children, stemming from a September 2010 incident.
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Mayweather was questioned repeatedly about June 1 during the buildup to the Cotto fight, which Mayweather won on a decision and earned, at a minimum, $32 million -- more likely closer to $45 million based on his additional take from the profits of the 1.5 million pay-per-view buys it generated.
Mayweather was always cool and calm when answering questions about his date with the county jail, where, with good behavior, he could serve as little as about two months of his sentence.
"June 1 is just June 1," Mayweather said a few days before the fight with Cotto. "I'm here to fight. Me going to jail is just another day, it's just another day. I don't even worry about that. I'm being honest. One thing about me: I'm not going to bulls--- you. I don't really think about it. My main focus is to go out there and do my job and be at my best doing my job."
When asked again about his impending sentence after his win against Cotto, Mayweather was just as nonchalant.
"Can't nothing break Floyd Mayweather," he said. "Whatever hand is dealt to you in life, you've got to deal with it. That's called being a real man. ... You [media] guys seem to be more worried about it than I am. But you've got to realize that when you dish it out, you have to be able to take it. That's just life."
Maybe now might be the time for Mayweather to worry about things, don't you think?
Neither in the buildup to nor in the aftermath of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s fight with Miguel Cotto did he show much concern about his impending jail sentence.
Instead of his plush 22,000-square-foot "big-boy mansion," as he calls it, Mayweather will spend 23 hours a day in a 6-by-10-foot jail cell, with one hour a day allowed for exercise during the first week or so of his stay, for his own safety. Assuming there are no problems, Mayweather will eventually join the general population and have more privileges, but his stretch won't be fun in any case, especially for a guy who demands to be the center of attention and is used to doing as he pleases, 24/7.
The millions he made against Cotto, and from other fights, aren't likely to help him when he's sitting alone in a cell thinking, one can only hope, about the error of his ways and what he can do to make sure he doesn't wind up in a similar predicament once he is released and inevitably returns to the ring.
While Mayweather is on ice, his team -- namely Al Haymon and Leonard Ellerbe -- will undoubtedly be behind the scenes planning for his next fight. Mayweather said many times before the Cotto fight that he wants to fight in the fall. Although he tempered those remarks in the immediate aftermath of his victory, Mayweather is a fighter. Surely he will be back in the ring, even if it's highly unlikely that the fall fight will come against the one man everyone wants to see him fight: Manny Pacquiao, assuming Pacquiao handles his own difficult business against Timothy Bradley Jr. on June 9.
While Pacquiao and Bradley are duking it out at the MGM Grand -- the same place where Mayweather regularly fights (and where he beat Cotto) -- Mayweather will be locked up at a location just a few minutes away.
As far as I know, they don't have pay-per-view in the jailhouse, so Mayweather will have to rely on secondhand reports to find out if Pacquiao wins and keeps alive the possibility of their potential megafight.
Apparently, there was no more putting off the jail sentence. Mayweather was supposed to report to jail on Jan. 6, but a Nevada judge, Melissa Saragosa, sided with Mayweather's legal team and allowed him to delay his report date so that he could honor his commitment to the MGM Grand for the Cotto fight -- which Saragosa recognized would pump something in the neighborhood of $100 million into the Las Vegas economy.
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One of the conditions of the Nevada State Athletic Commission's granting Mayweather a license to fight Cotto was the promise that he would not seek any more delays in his sentence. If he did, the commission said, he wouldn't be welcomed back to fight in Nevada.
After his victory against Cotto, and following the formal media conference, Mayweather, 35, stayed around the media center for a while. He took more questions when reporters were allowed to approach the dais, where he calmly sat surrounded by his kids.
I told Mayweather that I understood where he was coming from when he talked about taking his jail sentence like a man and how he thought it would make him a stronger person. But I had another question for him: How did he explain the situation to his young children?
Mayweather didn't get angry. Instead he smiled at me and said: "What I say to my kids is my business. My kids are not worried about that. My kids are fine. My kids are healthy. My kids are going to school. They're getting a great education and I love them dearly. I'm just happy. I'm not anxious. I'm not worried. You all are worried about it more than me."
Today, we're probably not.
Today is the day Mayweather must finally be worried.