LAS VEGAS – In January, June 1 seemed like such a long time away. There were $250,000 cars to buy, luxury vacations to take, a fight to win and basketball games on which to bet.
But June 1 is here and barring a last-minute reprieve the best boxer in the world will find himself in a tiny prison center in his adopted hometown.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. reported to Judge Melissa Saragosa's courtroom inside the Clark County Justice Center at Friday and was handed over to authorities to begin serving the remainder of a 90-day jail sentence. The unbeaten Mayweather, a five-division world champion, pleaded guilty in December to misdemeanor domestic violence charges after accepting a plea agreement. He had been facing 34 years on a variety of felony charges.
For at least the next two months, he'll trade his posh 22,000-square foot home complete with a two-story movie theater and 24-foot high ceilings for a 6-foot by 10-foot jail cell inside the Clark County Detention Center in downtown Las Vegas.
There was plenty of outrage Jan. 6 when Saragosa delayed Mayweather's report date by five months so he could fight Miguel Cotto. For delaying the sentence, something that is commonplace, Saragosa took more criticism than Mayweather, who pleaded guilty to domestic battery after a 2010 incident in which he allegedly assaulted Josie Harris, the mother of three of his children.
The question is, what good will come of however many of the 87 days remaining on Mayweather's sentence he actually serves? Domestic violence is a serious crime and violence against women must be taken seriously – more seriously than it has been.
Mayweather attorney Richard Wright said he expected the sentence to be reduced to "something around two months" when good behavior is factored in.
The truth of what happened that night inside Harris' home in the 3800 block of Tropical Vine in Las Vegas is known only by Mayweather, Harris and two of their sons.
A police report at the time of the incident indicated that the then-10 year-old Koraun Mayweather told police he saw his father hitting and kicking his mother. He also said that his father threatened to beat him if he left the house. However, Koraun Mayweather did reportedly leave and alerted authorities.
Harris has not spoken publicly about the incident. Mayweather has consistently denied hitting Harris and has repeatedly asked, "Where are the pictures?" of an injured Harris.
Mayweather was not available to speak to the media Thursday, even though his manager, Leonard Ellerbe, told Yahoo! Sports he "absolutely would" arrange an interview with the fighter before Mayweather had to report to jail.
Ellerbe failed to return calls Thursday.
Wright said he spoke to the boxer Wednesday. He said Mayweather was handling matters "about as you'd expect," and said Mayweather told him, "It is what it is," regarding his impending jail sentence.
Wright said Mayweather accepted the plea deal so his son wouldn't be forced to testify. Mayweather said the same thing to the Nevada Athletic Commission during a Jan. 31 licensing hearing.
"I did with Floyd what I do with all of my clients – I laid out to him the scenarios," Wright said. "In the worst-case scenario, he was facing a felony prosecution [that carried a maximum 34-year sentence]. I'm not saying anything of the probabilities, just what he was facing. I have had people insist innocence, but when facing a felony prosecution and a lengthy imprisonment, when an offer of a plea bargain comes that will give you a non-felony and no jail time, well, principle, truth, justice, all of that often goes out the window.
"If it's a thing where you don't go to jail, you don't get a felony and you accept this plea, that's a lot more attractive than rolling the dice and taking a chance on what a jury might do. Without a doubt, Floyd's intent was [to save his son from testifying], and he did what he thought was best for him and his family."
[Dan Wetzel: Jail time could help Mayweather-Pacquiao happen ]
But Mayweather will go to jail, even if for a relatively short time. Wright said he felt the Clark County District Attorney initially overcharged the boxer. The grand larceny charge was for taking iPhones belonging to Harris and their sons, items worth more than $250.
"In truth, whenever you have a domestic situation, they wind up taking something, a phone, the car keys, anything, and you wind up like this," Wright said. "If I went through all the files and started pulling up all the cops and all the firemen in this town who had [domestic violence incidents] and took the keys or a phone or something like that, that's all the DA would be doing would be prosecuting those kinds of cases."
He said Mayweather complied with the community service requirements of the sentence Saragosa imposed.
The sentence shouldn't affect Mayweather's ability to fight again in 2012 should he so choose. If he's released from jail in late July or early August, he'll have plenty of time to prepare for a November or December fight.
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