By Keith Idec
Floyd Mayweather Jr. appeared on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Wednesday primarily to promote the James DeGale-Badou Jack fight Saturday night in Brooklyn.
The retired superstar spent a significant portion of the segment defending himself over serving two months in a Nevada jail in 2012 on a domestic violence conviction stemming from a September 2010 incident involving former girlfriend Josie Harris, the mother of three of Mayweather’s four children. Mayweather revealed during the interview Wednesday that he agreed to speak about domestic violence upon the request of SportsCenter co-host Cari Champion, who less than three minutes into the interview began asking Mayweather about the controversial topic.
“That was in my past,” Mayweather told Champion and co-host David Lloyd. “And, of course, with any situation, when someone talks about domestic violence, I think with a fighter like myself, when they say that Floyd was involved in domestic violence – restraining someone? Yes, I did that. I’m guilty of restraining. But as far as stomp, kick and beating a woman, I think the world would see photos.
“But you must realize this – for so many years, for so many years, they tried to defeat me in so many different ways, as far as negative things. But I couldn’t be defeated inside the ring, so they tried to defeat me on the outside, as far as trying to discourage me. Do I think they want for me to break Rocky Marciano’s record? Absolutely not. Did people wanna see me fail? Absolutely. But I beat all odds. I was meant to be where I’m at today. I was meant to go through the different obstacles that I went through. And I wouldn’t change my life for nothing.”
Champion then asked Mayweather what he would say to female fans who like watching him box, yet have difficulty embracing him because of his history of domestic violence. According to a USA Today story published in April 2015, a few days before he fought Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather had been involved in seven alleged assaults committed against five different women, which led to Mayweather either being arrested or issued a citation.
“Well, I’ll say it to everybody at home,” Mayweather said. “I’m not perfect, never claimed to be perfect. I’ve been through certain obstacles in my life. And when it’s all said and done, only God can judge me. Like I said, I’m still waiting, hopefully like yourself, I’m waiting. I’m waiting to see photos. Cuz I’m a major figure, so when something happens in my home, the world knows about it. Domestic violence could happen in your home, or with you and your boyfriend. The world just don’t know about it.”
Lloyd then asked Mayweather what he regrets about his behavior over the years.
“I don’t regret anything,” Mayweather said. “When it’s all said and done, I know who I am as a person. I’m a great father, I’m a great man. I’ve been through obstacles. I’ve been through ups, I’ve been through downs in my life. And I’m not perfect. But I strive every day to become a better person. I’m a more positive person, and that’s what it’s all about.
“Nobody knows what you and your girlfriend has been through, or what you and your wife has been through, because you’re not a major figure. Not no different from Tiger Woods or any other figure that’s huge. If an argument goes on in someone home, it’s going to get over-exaggerated. You guys must realize this – I’m a fighter. So any time the police is called about a dispute, they’re gonna say domestic violence anyway because when a cop is called to someone’s home, that’s considered domestic violence.”
Lloyd then reminded Mayweather that there are “a lot of fighters” that don’t have the police called to their homes, that it’s “not like it happens to everybody.”
“But I’m saying, how do, I mean, I don’t think you’re studying every fighter,” Mayweather said. “I don’t think so. … ESPN is all about sports, so you guys check out all type of sports, and I think domestic violence goes on every day. Do I approve of it? Absolutely not. But I’m not here to judge anyone. And people can judge me because when it’s all said and done, only God can judge me.”
Champion concluded the domestic violence discussion by asking Mayweather how he has been able to rise above his domestic violence issues when many athletes in other professional sports haven’t been able to do that.
“It’s crazy,” Mayweather said. “Before I came [to ESPN on Wednesday], my publicist, Kelly Swanson, said you wanted to ask me about domestic violence before I got on here. I said, ‘I don’t shy away from anything because I’m not like that.’ Because when it’s all said and done, I don’t pay your bills in your home, you don’t pay my bills in my home. I have to live my life the way I wanna live my life. I’ve made mistakes in my life. And I’m a stronger person because of the things I’ve been through. So you live and you learn. I love my life. I’m a great person. And it’s all about being positive.
“And I think with us being on ESPN, I think that, I mean, I don’t mind talking about it. But I would prefer to talk about things that I’ve done, things that I’ve gave back, like how I’ve fed the American citizens for so many years. We don’t talk about that or how we feed the homeless on the regular. We never talk about that. Every time it’s Floyd Mayweather, they tend to put a battery on people’s back to talk about the negative things. But they never talk about the positive things that I do. And what I do know, I’m gonna let the world know this – my good outweighs my bad.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.