COMMENTARY | Dealing in morality is always a tricky business. Righteous indignation will only take you as far as your first apparent conflict. Point the finger at one person, one case, and you better be ready to point the finger every time and in every case.
Such is the dilemma of those who choose to beat the drum against Floyd Mayweather and use his domestic abuse conviction as a battering ram against him and his professional life.
Ruben Guerrero, father of upcoming Mayweather foe Robert Guerrero, opened the can of worms by violently jamming this issue back into the public arena, thereby allowing the usual band of dedicated critics and vendetta-sporting media-types to slither in behind it.
"We're going to beat-up that woman beater, the one who beat up his wife, man . . . his wife in front of his kids, you guys like that [expletive]? You like this guy? A woman beater?" Guerrero shouted at a Las Vegas press conference to hype his son's fight with the five-division world champ. "He must have learned that from his dad. Woman beater baby, we're going to beat that woman beater. See how he's going to like it, he's going to get it from a real man. We're going to beat that woman beater down."
Some in the media lauded Guerrero's "honesty," others winced at the use of something so personal and so unrelated to the matter at hand as a selling point for a professional prize fight.
MaxBoxing's Gabriel Montoya chose to write an article on the media circus around the upcoming Mayweather event, supporting Guerrero's outburst as more "honest" than any of the questions posed to Mayweather during the entire media tour.
"Unlike the media," Montoya wrote, "Ruben Guerrero relentless [sic] addressed the subject and would not be silenced. You have to respect someone willing to speak their mind like that whether it was classy to do so or not. Honesty is not easy."
The big question, though, is the following-- how relevant, exactly, is a fighter's history of domestic violence to his profession as a prizefighter? Is there a need for a dogged media focus on such issues as part of general fight coverage? If so, a nasty can of worms has been opened; a real slippery slope opening the door to all sorts of vendetta-riding character assassins.
The late Diego Corrales is a beloved figure among hardcore boxing fans. He is rightfully revered for his warrior's spirit and willingness to put his heart and soul into each and every fight.
However, back in 2000, prior to his bout with Floyd Mayweather, Corrales assaulted his pregnant wife, breaking her collarbone and bruising her spine in an attack the deputy district attorney called "absolutely brutal." Corrales would spend fourteen months in prison for the offense. (Ironically, Mayweather would go on to dedicate his dominating TKO of Corrales to "all the battered women in the world.")
So, a "right minded" media interested in social justice would certainly have to re-write and reassess the boxing legacy of Diego Corrales, right?
Then, of course, they'd have to do the same with Jake Lamotta, Carlos Monzon, Sugar Ray Robinson, and a legion of other fighters whose brilliance inside the ring could easily be countered with some ugly emotional and psychological defects outside of it. Many of boxing's greatest heroes would find themselves forever tarnished if subjected to the same scrutiny some would like to apply to Mayweather.
Not too long ago, I was approached with a hot tip about a promising, well-known young fighter who had been arrested on a domestic violence charge. It would've been big news and certainly would've given my website a spike in readership. Ultimately, I decided to sit on the story and not go public. At the end of the day, it just had nothing to do with the sport or anything even remotely pertaining to the business. To post it would've just been an exercise in attention-grabbing.
Simply being a bigger target doesn't necessarily make Floyd Mayweather a correct target.
I'm not claiming to have the definitive answer to this question of whether Mayweather's domestic violence case is pertinent to the coverage of his upcoming bout with Robert Guerrero. But if it is, those media members who treat his familial strife like their own personal sandbox better be ready to point the finger at every guilty party, all of the time. Otherwise, they just come off as petty, vendetta-riding hypocrites.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Sources: Yahoo Sports, Sports Illustrated, Max Boxing
- Sports & Recreation
- Crime & Justice
- Floyd Mayweather
- Robert Guerrero
- Diego Corrales