I really don't care for boxing, but tomorrow's fight - Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao - is clearly meant to be a big deal. The negotiations to set it up have taken many years; it's been billed as The Fight of The Century; and the victorious pugilist, each already a world champion in his own right, stands to win more than a hundred million US dollars.
Hype aside, what's the problem? It's this: Floyd Mayweather has been charged and convicted, on multiple occasions, of assaulting different women. In one instance, his then-10-year-old son provided a handwritten report to police, describing how Mayweather was hitting and kicking the boy’s mother (Mayweather’s wife); there's a one-sided Mayweather bout we'll never see. And yet despite his atrocious history of violence against women, fans, the mainstream media, and sponsors alike (who’ve competed to sign record-breaking deals to sponsor Mayweather) have supported him almost unilaterally; indeed, his professional career and image have never been better. He’s never even been suspended by any athletics body. Even the NFL, which has been notorious for its epidemic of domestic violence perpetrated by its players, has arguably done a little more to condemn its players’ actions.
It’s sheer hypocrisy. Tiger Woods lost many major sponsors after his marital infidelities came to light. Lance Armstrong became a persona non grata, experiencing both an epic personal and professional downfall (losing sponsors, being stripped of almost all of his record-breaking cycling achievements, and more), after his doping program was revealed. So (personal or professional) cheating is completely unacceptable to the sporting fraternity - but beating up women is totally ok?
If tomorrow you’ve anything better thing to do than support a celebrated serial abuser as he tries to make hundreds of millions of dollars, or to condone impunity for violence, take 10 seconds to sign this online pledge.
There have been some calls to boycott the match in an online pledge, which is joining in the struggle to hold domestic abusers accountable. But coverage of the darker side of his life continues to pale in comparison to that of his professional life. While it's easy to get swept away by the razzmatazz of such a high profile event, it might be worth re-evaluating if Mayweather's behavior (read: domestic abuse) should be rewarded and whether or not it's worth watching the match.