In what is being called “The Fight of the Century,” Floyd Mayweather will face Manny Pacquiao in a boxing match in Las Vegas on May 2, and it’s an event that has a lot of people talking. But there is at least one man who will not be watching.
Keith Olbermann spoke out against the fight on his show on Friday, saying that he planned to boycott the fight, and asked his viewers to do the same.
“I will not give Mayweather a dime. He should’ve been banned for life by his sport two, or five, or ten years ago. I will not promote, watch, nor report on Mayweather’s fight. I will boycott it and I urge you to as well.”
Olbermann isn’t boycotting the fight for no good reason — he pointed out Mayweather’s history of violence against women, as well as what he believed was a startling lack of action against him by both law enforcement and the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
According to an Outside the Lines segment, Mayweather has had five convictions for his violence against different women over the past 14 years. In two separate incidents in 2001, he punched the mother of his oldest daughter in the face and neck, leaving bruises. He also assaulted the mother of his other three daughters, Josie Harris, twice — during the second assault he grabbed the woman by her hair and punched her in the back of her head in front of the three children, then allegedly threatened to “beat them the same way.” Harris had to be removed from the premises on a stretcher.
For this, he served two months in jail, but the judge delayed his sentence so he would be able to fight in a match he had later that year. The NSAC did not sanction Mayweather at any point, and unanimously voted to give him his boxing license. Pat Lundvall, who serves on the commission, explained that since Mayweather had already served his two months, he had paid his debt to society and did not need to be punished further.
To Olbermann, this is not nearly enough.
“You will support this excuse for a man? You will help him continue to behave as if his conduct is acceptable in the 21st century, or the 20th, or the 19th? I won’t. I regret this deeply. I met Manny Pacquiao last year, and a quieter, more respectful, more dignified boxer I’ve never encountered. May he make millions more, but I will not give Floyd Mayweather a dime.”
Olbermann also pointed out how athletes from other sports who were guilty of domestic abuse were often punished more heavily, even if those punishments were still lacking. He brought up Ray Rice, who was suspended from the NFL and has yet to find another team.
But while it is important that high-profile figures like Olbermann publicly voice their dissatisfaction, there’s another problem to be solved, and it’s one that won’t be affected too much by something like a boycott: the silence of the media.
“I think that Floyd, by and large, has gotten a free ride from the media. I have a lot of respect for the way he practices his craft, but in terms of the way he treats women in particular, he’s not a role model,” said Thomas Hauser, a boxing writer and historian.
But for his part, Mayweather doesn’t appear too bothered by the reaction. When asked by ESPN what message he felt his lack of repercussions was sending to victims of abuse, he only replied, “Honestly, I want everybody to tune in, May 2nd. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. This is the fight that you can’t miss.”
[Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images]