Floyd Mayweather’s history of domestic violence is not something he’s able to dodge like the punches that are thrown by his opponents. Even on the (possible) cusp of retirement, a seemingly more mature Mayweather has found himself right back in deep water as his past has once again made its way to the forefront.
Late last week, a report by TMZ Sports surfaced that boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter reached out to Jen Welter – the NFL’s first female coach – to extend an invite for her to attend Mayweather’s showdown with Andre Berto at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas on September 12. Welter confirmed the report and accepted the invite that came with ringside seats from Mayweather, who says he is a big fan of Welter. Not only that but Mayweather is rumored to be considering involving the former Arizona Cardinals inside linebackers training camp intern coach in a bigger role, such as Welter escorting the undefeated fighter to the ring, something that celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Lil Wayne and WWE’s Triple H have all done in the past.
Welter accepted, calling the invitation “an honor.”
The problem with this, of course, is the domestic violence issues that have plagued Mayweather for much of his career and saw the 38 year old serve a brief stint behind bars after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery in the much-publicized incident with his ex-girlfriend Josie Harris. Despite the jail time, Mayweather has never publicly apologized for hitting Harris and denies the incident happened.
And that is what has caused an uproar in social media.
On one hand, the extension of an invitation by Mayweather to a woman that has made history can be seen as the five-division world champion attempting to make amends for a checkered past. On the other, Welter’s acceptance has been seen by others as an endorsement for a fighter who puts his hands on men inside of the ring, and women outside of it.
Welter has taken to social media to explain her position while suggesting that her acceptance should be seen as her raising awareness for domestic violence rather than supporting it.
“So you would prefer I prejudge from a distance?” Welter asked via Twitter. “I consider the invitation from @FloydMayweather a positive step.”
Although Mayweather’s detractors, including ESPN’s Michelle Beadle, have taken her to task, Welter has fended off accusations that she is supportive of Mayweather’s domestic violence issues and sees this as an opportunity to take the issue to a larger platform.
In all fairness, Welter coaches in the NFL, which has had more than its fair share of domestic violence issues amongst its players, including former Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer's aggravated assault arrest in 2014.
“I never prejudged my players, which gave me an opportunity to reach them,” Welter continued on her Twitter account. “Maybe that's why Floyd extended his glove.”
Regardless, with boxing’s biggest celebrity and the highest paid athlete in the world constantly mired in his domestic violence past, Welter accompanying him to the ring would open the door to a huge lightning rod of criticism and support from both sides.
No matter how many ways you slice it, Mayweather’s domestic issues have once again come to the forefront on the week of his fight and threaten to overshadow his showdown with Berto.
Welter has remained steadfast that she will be in attendance on Saturday night. Only time will tell if she is making the right decision.