Late-Night’s Obscene Normalization of Floyd Mayweather
You can’t criticize Donald Trump in one breath and cajole a serial domestic abuser in the next.
On Tuesday night, Jimmy Kimmel dedicated his opening monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to President Donald Trump, calling out the commander-in-chief for his appalling defense of the Charlottesville neo-Nazis and pleading with Trump voters to admit they were wrong. It was a fairly de rigueur performance when it comes to this new wave of politically conscious late-night hosts—a choir of voices that pride themselves on calling out social and political injustices.
And then, mere minutes after giving Trump a vicious tongue-lashing, Kimmel welcomed the night’s big guest: Floyd “Money” Mayweather, the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. The undefeated (49-0) champion is currently making the rounds to promote his August 26 bout against UFC fighter Conor McGregor, an event that critics have labeled a shameless money grab.
Kimmel lightly ribbed Mayweather about his reputation for throwing around absurd sums of money (Mayweather confessed to once owning a Brink’s truck to haul all his cash) and, during a particularly cringe-inducing exchange, couldn’t contain his giggles while questioning why Mayweather doesn’t receive lap dances from the entertainers at his strip club.
The following night, Mayweather appeared in a cold open sketch on The Late Late Show, with host James Corden mock-auditioning to become Mayweather’s new hype man for the McGregor clash. “This is your biggest fight ever, you’re going to need the biggest hype man ever. And there’s only one person I can think of worthy enough to be your hype man for this fight, and that person is: James Corden,” he told the boxer.
After Mayweather rejected the idea, Corden pressed on, dressing up like one-time Mayweather ego-booster Justin Bieber and making it rain faux dollar bills. When that didn’t take, he confronted Mayweather by the elevators, serenading him with an a capella rendition of Adele’s “Hello.” Corden’s parade of humiliations ended with the fighter snapping his fingers, signaling two security guards who rough up the funnyman.
For the millions tuning in at home—and bereft of context—Mayweather came off as charming; a game participant in his hosts’ comedy machinations.
But Floyd Mayweather is an objectively terrible person.
Over the course of his legendary career in the ring, the 40-year-old pugilist has committed multiple counts of domestic violence, with the first incidents occurring in 2001 and 2002 against Melissa Brim, the mother of his eldest daughter.
“During an argument [Mayweather] swung open a car door, hitting her jaw, pushed her into the car and punched her several times in the face and body, according to a lawsuit she later filed,” reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “After the ‘brutal and unprovoked attack,’ Brim drove to a convenience store and called police, the lawsuit said.” Five months later, Brim accused Mayweather of striking her in the neck while they were at the mall with their daughter. She dropped the lawsuit in 2003 after Mayweather pleaded guilty to two counts of domestic battery, and one additional count of misdemeanor battery involving another woman.
In 2004, he was convicted on two counts of misdemeanor battery for attacking a pair of women in a Las Vegas nightclub, and the following year was busted for punching and kicking a bouncer.
One of the most harrowing examples of his abusive streak came in 2010, when Mayweather was arrested for allegedly beating up his girlfriend at the time, Josie Harris, in front of their children.
According to the police report, Harris returned home in the early hours of September 9—around 2:30 a.m.—and discovered Mayweather talking to their two sons. After Harris informed Mayweather that she was seeing someone else, a verbal argument ensued, resulting in Harris phoning the police. After the police arrived, Mayweather left their residence, only to return around 5 a.m. with a friend.
Harris alleged to police that she arose from her slumber on the couch to find Mayweather scrolling through her phone, reading old text messages. “Are you having sex with C.J.?” Mayweather screamed at her. “Yes, that is who I’m seeing now,” she replied. Mayweather then, according to the report, “grabbed Harris by her hair and began striking her in the back of her head with a closed fist several times. Mayweather pulled Harris off the couch by her hair and twisted her left arm, yelling, “I’m going to kill you and the man you’re messing around with.” Harris, worried that Mayweather was trying to break her arm, says she yelled at their kids to call the police, prompting Mayweather to shout that he would “beat their ass if they left the house or called the police.”
“Did he beat me to a pulp? No, but I had bruises on my body and contusions and [a] concussion because the hits were to the back of my head. I believe it was planned to do that…because the bruises don't show,” Harris told Yahoo News! in 2013.
Harris was saved by Mayweather’s then 10-year-old son, Koraun, who sprinted out of the back of the house house to a guest home on the property occupied by one of Harris’ friends (Mayweather’s pal was blocking the main stairs). Harris’ friend proceeded to call the police, according to the report.
Included in the police report is Koraun’s written witness statement—a truly devastating read:
Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Mayweather only received a suspended 90-day prison sentence, and ended up serving a shade less than two months behind bars. Furthermore, he’s refused to take responsibility for the abusive incident—or any of his past domestic violence episodes, repeatedly denying any of them ever took place.
“He is a coward,” Koraun later told USA Today of his father’s denials, hugging his mother.
All of this makes Floyd “Money” Mayweather perhaps the most reprehensible figure in professional sports, and someone who shouldn’t be normalized by the late-night comedy brigade. If you’re going to assume the moral high ground when it comes to President Trump, then those standards must also be applied to those who prey on women—no matter their wealth or celebrity.