Edmonton Journal

Fight sponsors look away on domestic violence

Companies flock to Mayweather despite domestic violence charges

- Tim Dahlberg

LAS VEGAS — The spokeswoma­n from FanDuel was having trouble answering the question. Not her fault, really, because others involved with Floyd Mayweather Jr. struggle with the same thing.

In the fantasy gaming website’s case it was this: Why would any company attach its name — literally in FanDuel’s case — to a fighter who has a history of beating women?

The spokeswoma­n paused, trying to find the right words.

“Of course FanDuel doesn’t condone any of Floyd’s prior incidents,” she finally said. “But as a sports entertainm­ent company we will be front and centre at one of the biggest sporting events in the history of boxing.”

No need to make moral judgments. Not when there’s business to be done with a fighter expected to make some $180 million US Saturday night in boxing’s richest fight ever.

FanDuel will be the only sponsor on Mayweather’s trunks when he fights Manny Pacquiao, but the company is not alone in tying itself to the unbeaten fighter. Showtime, which is owned by CBS, had no problem signing Mayweather to a huge contract despite his problems outside the ring, and the MGM Grand not only hosts Mayweather’s fights but often has his image draped across the outside of its building.

Meanwhile, celebritie­s and high rollers aren’t thinking twice about paying $10,000 for a floor seat to see and be seen at his biggest fight.

Business as usual, in a sport where these kinds of things tend to be tolerated.

If the storyline of this fight, as Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach suggests, is good versus evil, it’s easy to tell the fighters apart. Pacquiao is a born-again Christian who quotes Bible verses. He is a congressma­n back home in his native Philippine­s.

Mayweather is a great boxer who can’t keep his hands off the women in his life. He has been charged on at least five occasions on domestic abuse allegation­s, including the 2010 attack on the mother of three of his children that landed him in jail for two months.

“When Manny beats Mayweather, it won’t only be about unifying the welterweig­ht titles,” Roach said. “It will also be a public service to boxing.”

Pacquiao, of course, has more to worry about than cleaning up the sport. He will face a fighter whose brilliance in the ring has never been questioned.

Today, though, Mayweather is unrepentan­t, and unapologet­ic. And why not, when all the sycophants around him cheer his every move and people throw money at him to see him fight.

It showed again on Tuesday when he complained about not being allowed to see three of his children.

“That’s been bothering me a lot,” Mayweather said. “You know how women are sometimes.”

So far in this promotion, Mayweather has ignored the relatively few questions asked about his actions outside the ring. Most journalist­s don’t even bother to ask, because the answer is always disingenuo­us.

There’s nothing wrong with Mayweather claiming he’s served his time and should be able to move on, assuming he also owns up to his own actions as a man.

Just don’t let him pretend that none of it happened. The Associated Press

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 ?? Chris Carlson/Associated Press ?? Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., shown at a Wednesday pre-fight news conference in Las Vegas, has been charged on at least five occasions over domestic abuse allegation­s, yet sponsors and partners flock to get a piece of the richest fight in history.
Chris Carlson/Associated Press Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., shown at a Wednesday pre-fight news conference in Las Vegas, has been charged on at least five occasions over domestic abuse allegation­s, yet sponsors and partners flock to get a piece of the richest fight in history.

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