Mayweather turns jail time into a marketing event

As a genre, pre-incarceration tweeting is a new one.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has managed to define it anyway, hitting Twitter hard as the hours wound down to Friday, when he will enter the Clark County, Nev., Detention Center to serve out a near three-month sentence that could be cut as short as 65 days.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. spent the day before his incarceration tweeting about making huge wagers and buying a $300,000 Bentley.
(Getty Images)

There were the pictures of winning wagering slips – who the heck bets $150,000 on the Little Caesars Bowl? There were gloating photos of a fresh white $300,000 Bentley he “picked up” as a going-away-to-prison gift to himself.

And then, of course, there was the obligatory photo of him working at what appeared to be a soup kitchen.

“TheMoneyTeam taking care is the less fortunate,” it read.

It was everything that makes people love Floyd Mayweather. And hate. And love to hate.

It’s also a sure sign Mayweather has already begun turning his jail term into a marketing plan. You have to be part fool to go to jail. You have to be part genius to exploit it.

[Related: Mayweather avoids jail time in separate case]

Years ago Mayweather decided to use loud, profane, vapid and staged antics to morph from a defensive-oriented welterweight into boxing’s biggest villain and its biggest draw.

“Don’t serve time, make time serve you,” Don King likes to advise inmates. In the 1960s, King did a four-year stint for manslaughter and used the time to educate himself and thus leave the numbers-running game upon his release. It’s an incredible story.

Expect Mayweather to take that to the ultimate level.

The CCDC isn’t anywhere you want to spend even an hour, but it’s not like Mayweather is going to do hard time.

He pleaded guilty last month to “misdemeanor battery domestic violence and harassment” of an ex-girlfriend and the mother of three of his children.

Through “work time” and “good time” that will cut his sentence, he could be out by early March. According to a police spokesman, he will “probably” spend the first week in isolated protective custody. “If no problems [arise],” he’ll be housed with other protective custody inmates.

He won’t be bunking with the general population, currently 3,393 strong.

Sure his 12,000-square foot mansion will become a 6-by-10-foot cell. Yes, those eight bathrooms he’s accustomed to will become a stainless steel toilet and sink. And let’s not bother discussing Egyptian thread counts.

A Las Vegas jail cell will house Floyd Mayweather Jr. for at least 65 days.
(Courtesy LVMPD)

As for the Bentley, maybe a member of TheMoneyTeam can wheel it around downtown Las Vegas so Mayweather can catch a glimpse through the thin window in his cell from what is expected to be the South Tower.

That first week he’ll get one hour a day outside his cell, all alone, according to the jail. In regular protective custody, it will be “several hours” with other prisoners like him.

It may not do much for training.

Other than that, he’ll survive.

The stated goal of the American judicial system is rehabilitation. Hopefully Mayweather will learn to save his aggression for the ring, especially when it comes to women. It’s a pathetic crime.

That said, the concept that he comes out a new man – humble and businesslike – is unlikely. He isn’t tweeting Bible verses in his final hours; he’s taking snapshots from parties. The man is starkly unapologetic. His Twitter avatar is a picture of him smiling between President George W. Bush and Jerry Jones.

He’s stayed perfectly in character.

Mayweather is a light-punching, lower weight class athlete in a sport decades removed from its heyday. He’s earned nearly $200 million anyway. That’s in part from breaking the mold on how to sell himself, mostly through outrageous turns designed to build a bad-boy image on HBO’s “24/7” reality show.

Hard-core boxing fans love his skills. That isn’t enough to make the big money. He’s found two other consumer groups: those that love his over-the-top act and those that hate it. He’s made himself a sensation.

Going to jail is just an unexpected plot development. Played properly, though, it will fire up both sides.

While anything is possible, it’s long odds he lets his detractors see him knocked down a peg. He’ll likely come out even more defiant.

[Related: Iole: Suliaman should resign]

Mayweather will turn himself in Friday at “an unspecified time,” according to Marcus Martin, a Las Vegas police spokesman, due to “security reasons.”

Mayweather probably would prefer the cameras.

They are sure to be there when he gets out, though, where Mayweather could be even more outlandish. If he bought himself a Bentley as a go-away-to-prison present, imagine what he will give himself for coming home.

All the while, Manny Pacquiao, that approachable, engaging, soft-rock-crooning, Filipino congressman rival waits.

Good vs. Evil.

They should’ve fought a couple times by now. That said, the payday probably just got even bigger. Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, said the fight could still happen in November, though Mayweather might want a tune-up and another easy payday. There’s no telling how a couple months in a jail cell will affect him physically.

At the bank, though, this should be a boon. And Floyd Mayweather Jr., one over-the-top tweet after the next on the eve of his incarceration, is showing that is precisely his plan.

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Dan Wetzel is Yahoo! Sports' national columnist. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October. Follow him on Twitter. Send Dan a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Thursday, Jan 5, 2012