May 4, 2012
Inside the Mayweather Boxing Club, where the assembled included a lawyer, a famous rapper, a celebrity chef, a girlfriend, an ex-girlfriend, a dozen boxers, a few dozen spectators and, naturally, three representatives from Habitat for Humanity, the boxing equivalent of a Batman signal flashed.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. was on his way.
The focus lingered on his next bout, against Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand on Saturday. No one mentioned the date that most weighed on their collective conscience, an anything-but-random Friday 27 days after the fight. That is when Mayweather, 35, is scheduled to report to jail for misdemeanor domestic violence and harassment charges reached in a plea bargain.
The undefeated boxer with an 18-room mansion will live inside a 10-by-6-foot cell for up to 87 days starting June 1. He will swap gloves for prison garb, marble for steel, boxing for boxed in. When Manny Pacquiao fights here in June, Mayweather is supposed to be jailed a few miles down the road.
Mayweather appeared unconcerned as he smiled into the nearest mirror and stepped inside the ring to spar, as if the sentence that awaited amounted to little more than a vacation.
“I was born for this,” Mayweather said.
“This” could mean boxing, the sport in which Mayweather has accumulated some $200 million in 42 victorious fights. “This” could mean Mayweather’s surreal lifestyle. In recent weeks, he placed a single bet for $1.3 million on Kentucky’s basketball team, sent an assistant to fetch $20,000 in lottery tickets, put his Rolls-Royce Phantom on eBay and sparred with boxers and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
“This,” Mayweather insisted, is normal, all the chaos and turbulence, even if these circumstances are without precedent. Even if preparations for this fight, while typical, serve a different purpose: to distract from the reality, jabs instead of jail.
“My life has always been a roller-coaster ride,” Mayweather said. “Seven in one bedroom. Mother on drugs. Father being shot. Dad going to prison. Never having a stable home. I know you’re talking about jail. Me going to prison in June. I’m going to do the same thing: bob and weave. That’s what I’m going to do.”
“Bob and weave.”
The night before, Mayweather rented a local amusement park. Friends and family gathered after midnight, in accordance with his odd schedule. (A typical dinner is consumed between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., and breakfast is eaten before bed, usually around 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. “I’m a vampire” is one of Mayweather’s new catchphrases.)
As they waited for Mayweather’s workout arrival, those who had participated in the amusement park diversion wiped sleep from their eyes. Like the champion, they found comfort here, in numbers and family and routine.
Preparations began immediately. Handlers laid out 13 matching sets of brightly colored gloves and headgear, gloves painted every color, painted with Mayweather’s face, the bottoms made to look like alligator skin. The sounds of rap on the stereo rose in volume until the gym vibrated. The room temperature nosed above 80 degrees, among the conditions mandated by Mayweather, along with beverage selection (Pepsi, water, orange Powerade). Ricki Brazil, a childhood friend, said Mayweather had already planned for his time in prison. Some 10 people are involved in carrying out those wishes and ensuring that the corporation Mayweather has become will run smoothly. Brazil’s tasks is to update the registration on each of Mayweather’s 29 cars. Others have access to his bank accounts. Still others will check on his father, uncle, children.
“Right now, he tries not to think about it, so we try not to think about it,” Brazil said. “He can block it out as long as he gets attention. As long as they’re talking about him, he’s happy. He knows he’s relevant, which means he’s doing something right.”
Inside the gym, Roger Mayweather, uncle and trainer, said he last saw his nephew this sharp years ago, before he regularly took long layoffs between fights. Roger lost his belt after a 16-month break. That his nephew battered Victor Ortiz into submission in September meant Mayweather required less time to round into form.
“When you lay off, you lose something,” Roger said. “That’s what boxing is.”
Roger spit out the word, his favorite, “boxing,” with a heavy emphasis on box. No, he was not concerned that Cotto could weigh 154 pounds at superwelterweight. “Weight ain’t never won no boxing fight! Skills pay the bills!” Yes, he believed his nephew merited mention with the boxer he considers the best ever, Sugar Ray Robinson, whether Mayweather ever fights Pacquiao or not.
The subject of jail time drew a more animated response.
“It ain’t the first time my nephew ever been in trouble,” Roger said. “He ain’t never been in no real bad trouble. And he ain’t going to no real jail. If it bothers him, I can’t see how he’s knocking these guys out. He’s knocking these guys dead. Jail? Forget jail. Cotto will see the truth. That’s boxing.”
As Mayweather pulled into his front parking spot, his personal chef, Jourdan Cha’Taun Atkinson, said the boxer scolded members of his staff who read commentary on his case. She spoke candidly of how Mayweather helped one of his drivers open a tattoo parlor in New York, that he sent Brazil to business school and that he enjoys spaghetti with turkey meat sauce, smothered chicken and rice — “basically, grandma stuff,” Atkinson said.
She tensed, however, when the subject turned to legal matters. Like others in Mayweather’s inner circle, Atkinson said Judge Melissa Saragosa acted hypocritically in delaying Mayweather’s sentence for this fight, so he could earn hundreds of millions for the city, the state and, of course, himself.
Mayweather faced 34 years in jail on felony charges of domestic violence, coercion and grand larceny for an incident in which prosecutors claim that he grabbed a former girlfriend — who is also the mother of three of his children — threatened to kill her and make her boyfriend “disappear,” twisted her arm and punched her head. The sentence: 180 days in jail, 90 suspended, credit for 3 served; 100 hours community service; $2,500 fine.
Oh, and counseling. “Going great!” Mayweather said with unexpected enthusiasm.
Inside the ring, a blow to the hip briefly silenced Mayweather. He retreated to a corner and instructed HBO to shut off its cameras.
Activity resumed. Mayweather moved to the heavy bag, only to again be interrupted when another fighter was knocked out. The fighter lay flat on his back, eyes closed, as Mayweather and the rapper 50 Cent joined the chorus of raucous cheers. “Welcome to the doghouse!” Mayweather shouted. “Where anyone can get it!”
Mayweather turned back to the heavy bag, then the speed bag, and his punches provided a drumbeat — tap, tap, tap, tap; thud, thud, thud, thud. Mayweather’s hype man added words to the soundtrack: “Right now, Champ! Get it, Champ! You ain’t got nothing but time! Nothing but time on your hands!”
No one seemed to catch the double meaning.
His oldest sister, Deltricia Howard, said it was impossible not to think about the sentence. She picked her words carefully, said she felt sorry for both her brother and his former girlfriend.
“You’re supposed to learn,” Howard said. “You get all the red flags, and if you don’t pay attention to them, this is what happens. It’s my brother. I wish he wasn’t in this situation. But sometimes you see stuff. So you feel bad. But you don’t feel bad.”
She added, “Controversy is part of his life.”
Mayweather required a lengthy hearing to obtain his license from the Nevada Athletic Commission for this fight. The commission granted the license, but with six conditions, including no further arrests and full compliance with the judge’s order.
“We’ve had all kinds of issues over the years in regard to licenses,” said Keith Kizer, the commission’s executive director. “But nothing where a guy is basically going to jail.”
Back in the ring, Mayweather banished the sentence if not from his mind than from his gym. He talked and punched, talked and punched, with 50 Cent both among the crowd and blaring from the speakers. “Uh-huh!” the hype man continued. “Good! Good! All day! Keeping it coming! That’s right, Champ!”
Finished, Mayweather retreated to his locker room, where he instructed one assistant to fetch the clothes from his trunk, and turn the car around and on. Sitting on a bench, surrounded by his entourage, Mayweather turned reflective. He said he hoped to repair his relationship with his father. He said he wanted only one more megafight after this one. He said he cared about his legacy, the pay-per-view and gate records, the envious financial fight structure, the zero in the loss column. He said the boxing public would appreciate him more in 20 years.
“No one has a perfect life,” Mayweather said. “I’m thankful. To whoever is reading this story, thanks for the support. And if you don’t know me, you know, Google me.”
Floyd Mayweather Jr. was born on February 24th, 1977 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Mayweather,_Jr.
February 24th, 1977
2 + 24 +1+9+7+7 = 50 = his life lesson = Family life. Family troubles.
February 24th, 1977
2 + 24 +2+0+1+2 = 31 = his personal year (from February 24th, 2012 to February 23rd, 2013) = Training. Competitor. Competition. Contestant. Throwing his hat into the ring. Getting into it.
31 year + 4 (April) = 35 = his personal month (from April 24th, 2012 to May 23rd, 2012) = Going the distance.
35 month + 5 (5th of the month on Saturday May 5th, 2012) = 40 = his personal day = Doing his part. Being spoiled rotten.
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