By: Daniel Roberts
Floyd Mayweather is a misogynist. And not just a misogynist, but a batterer, and a serial batterer at that. This is a statement of fact that you will rarely see or hear from the professional boxing media, many of whom remain hopelessly dependent on the reigning box office king’s goodwill for access. It’s certainly not one you will hear from any of the assembled talking heads on Showtime, the CBS-owned cable network to which Mayweather is contractually wed. And while it may be easy enough to guess why the boxing media has been so willing to cover for Mayweather’s sins, it’s less obvious why so many others are so willing to look the other way.
Floyd Mayweather’s history of misogyny, expressed—as he is wont to do—through violence, is well-documented and reprehensible. It extends over a dozen years and includes at least seven separate physical assaults on five different women that resulted in arrest or citation, as well as several other instances where the police had to be summoned in response to an actual or perceived threat from Mayweather.
Ironically, the story begins with Mayweather claiming to be a champion for battered women. In 2001, Mayweather fought what was then the biggest fight of his career, against the favored Diego “Chico” Corrales. Corrales, a deeply troubled but usually benevolent soul, was facing an impending jail sentence for assaulting his wife. Mayweather, always eager to get under his opponents’ skin, pounced on it. He dedicated his performance to “all the battered women in the world” and even entered the ring to music bashing violence against women. It worked. In retrospect, it’s obvious that Corrales would have lost to Mayweather under any circumstances, but he was atypically distracted and off his game that night, resulting in what many still consider to be the most impressive win of Mayweather’s career.
But Mayweather quickly extinguished any hope that his stance was anything other than gamesmanship. Just one month after the Corrales fight, Mayweather got into an argument with Melissa Brim, the mother of Mayweather’s daughter, Ayanna, over child support. According to Brim, Mayweather struck her in the face with a car door, pushed her into the car, and then proceeded to repeatedly punch her. That was only the beginning.
Five months later, Mayweather, Brim, and Ayanna were shopping together at a Las Vegas mall when Mayweather and Brim got into an argument. After asking one of his friends to take Ayanna away from Brim, Mayweather punched Brim in the neck and then fled the scene before police could arrive.
Mayweather ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of battery against Brim’s father and two counts of battery (domestic violence) against Brim, in October 2001 and March 2002, respectively, for which he received a suspended sentence. In exchange for his guilty plea, charges of stalking, violating a protective order, and attempted obstruction of a police officer were dropped.
In August 2003, Mayweather and several of his associates were at the Ra nightclub at the Luxor in Las Vegas when he encountered Herneatha McGill and Karra Blackburn, who were friends of Josie Harris, the mother of three of Mayweather’s children. McGill was aware that Mayweather disliked her and attempted to leave when she saw him coming. Here’s how the Las Vegas Sunrelated her testimony:
McGill said as Mayweather got closer she read his lips and he was saying he, Summers and the unidentified third man should go hurt her and Blackburn. Before the women could get away, McGill testified, Mayweather punched her in the jaw and Blackburn in the head.
McGill said she was trying to get away when Mayweather hit her.
“I fell to the ground,” McGill said, “and Karra tried to help, and as she was, Mr. Mayweather hit her as well. After she was hit I helped her up and we ran out of the club.”
According to McGill, the source of the animus between them and the presumptive motive for the unprovoked attack was simply Mayweather’s anger that Harris had friends that he had not approved of.
The two women left the club but Mayweather and his entourage pursued them outside. (Mayweather would later testify that he’d seen the women steal his friend’s wallet.) When casino security intervened, according to the prosecutor, Mayweather picked up and shook a female security guard, for which he was handcuffed and issued a citation. After the dust settled, club security instructed McGill and Blackburn not to file a formal complaint against Mayweather or they would “pay for it in the streets,” according to the women’s testimony. Sixteen days later, McGill and Blackburn chose to pursue charges against Mayweather anyway, and, in June 2004, Mayweather was found guilty of two counts of battery. He (again) received a suspended sentence and ordered to complete “impulse control” counseling. The guilty verdict was later vacated in 2005 and the charges were “dismissed per negotiations” in July 2008.
Only four months after the Ra melee, Mayweather’s “impulses” were again drawn into question. The setting was once again outside a Las Vegas nightclub, this time the parking lot in front of SRO, where Mayweather and Harris were seated in his Bentley. All parties seem to agree that the fight started after Harris confronted Mayweather about his behavior with another woman. According to statements Harris made to the police that evening, Mayweather responded by repeatedly punching and kicking Harris in the car and then dragging her out of the car by her hair, causing a facial laceration. She also told officers Mayweather had beaten her before. Mayweather was arrested and charged with felony battery.
By the time of the trial in July 2005, however, Harris had changed her story. She claimed that she instigated the fight because she was jealous of the other woman, and that, while Floyd had indeed dragged her from his car, causing her facial wound, it was only because she was out of control. Harris testified that she’d lied to police about any punching and kicking, going so far as to claim that Mayweather would never hit her, because he’s “like a teddy bear inside.” Mayweather was acquitted. Shortly thereafter, he purchased Harris a $500,000 25-carat diamond ring.
The most famous violent incident involving Mayweather occurred in September 2010, when he confronted Harris about dating NBA guard C.J. Watson. According to Harris, her children, andthe cops—none of whom have ever been contradicted on any specific point—what unfolded that evening was utterly terrifying. Although Mayweather and Harris were no longer an item, and Mayweather had his own live-in girlfriend, Shantel “Miss” Jackson, Harris was still living in a home that Mayweather owned. When she returned home from a night of bowling at 2:30 a.m., she discovered Mayweather was waiting for her and talking to their children. They quickly found themselves embroiled in a heated argument, and Harris wisely called the police. She told the officers that no battery had taken place but that she wanted Mayweather to leave the premises. Mayweather, instead, insisted that he wanted to evict Harris from the house. Ultimately, Mayweather agreed to leave.
But Mayweather returned around 5 a.m., accompanied by another man, both of who were let in by one of Mayweather and Harris’s children. Harris was asleep on her living room couch when she was jarred awake by the sound of Mayweather screaming at her about texts he had found from Watson on her cell phone. When Harris admitted that she was seeing Watson, Mayweather exploded. He punched her repeatedly in the rear of her head, pulled her off the couch by her hair, and twisted her arm. He screamed that he would “kill” Harris and Watson, that he would make both “disappear.” Harris screamed for her children Koraun and Zion, aged 10 and 9, to call the police. Mayweather turned to the kids, according to the police report, and yelled that he would “beat their asses if they left the house or called the police.” Koraun tried to run up the stairs, but Mayweather’s associate blocked his path. Eventually, he was able to make it outside, and the police were summoned. Koraun told police he had witnessed his father punching and kicking his mother while she lay on the ground. By the time the cops had entered the home, Mayweather had fled, taking Harris’s cell phone with him. In a 2013 interview with Yahoo Sports, Harris stated that she believes Mayweather might have killed her that night if Koraun hadn’t been able to alert the authorities when he did.
The results of the beating were savage enough as it was. A doctor’s report found bruises, contusions, and a concussion from the blows that Harris sustained to the back of her head. In her interview with Yahoo, Harris speculated that Mayweather punched her in the back of her head specifically to avoid producing a visible bruise. That is one possible explanation. Another explanation, well known to boxers, is that “rabbit punches” to the back of the head are especially dangerous, which is why they are banned in all major combat sports.
Mayweather was charged with a host of felony offenses ranging from beating Harris to threatening his children. Facing charges that could have resulted in a combined 34 years in prison, Mayweather copped a plea to misdemeanor domestic assault and harassment charges, and received a 90-day jail sentence in December 2011. Other than generally denying Harris’s story, Floyd has never given his version of events.
Floyd began serving his jail sentence in June 2012. He was released on Aug. 3, after just two months, for good behavior.
On Sept. 9, 2012—one month after his release from jail—Melissa Brim called police at 2 a.m. to report that she was in a verbal altercation with Mayweather. By the time police arrived, Mayweather had fled with some of Brim’s property. The property was later returned and Brim declined to press charges. Like Harris, Brim lives in a home that is owned by Mayweather.
It’s clear enough that Mayweather is a serial batterer of women, but even that is an oversimplification. To truly place these repeated acts of brutality in context requires a broader exploration of Mayweather’s attitudes and actions toward women.
It’s no secret that Mayweather, who goes by the nickname “Money,” loves his possessions; according to Harris, Mayweather prizes his trophies of wealth above his in-ring accomplishments. “That is the reward. He prides himself off that more than the belts,” Harris told Yahoo. “He loves that he can hop on a private jet or buy any watch or buy any ring.” It doesn’t take a huge inferential leap to see that Mayweather both views the women in his life as little more than property and expects them to unhesitatingly share that view.
Property has three basic characteristics: It can be purchased; it can be controlled by its owner; and it can be disposed of when it is no longer needed. And, judging by own his statements and behavior, Mayweather has similar expectations for the women in his life. In an hour-long, Mayweather-produced, Showtime-televised infomercial about his lifestyle, 30 Days in May, Mayweather compared women to a collection of cars.
Read more: deadspin.com