From everything we know about the world of Floyd Mayweather, it would appear that he has invested all of his time and money outside the ring into creating a self-contained universe aimed entirely at satisfying his own ego needs.
Like Elvis Presley and so many other celebrities with bulging bank accounts and severe personality disorders, Mayweather has constructed an inner circle consisting of little more than a rag-tag bunch of yes-men, enablers, and enforcers.
As a general rule, the fairest course of action is to leave a man’s personal life as personal. There’s not a boxing writer alive today qualified to play social worker to the stars. However, 2014 saw the five-division world champ extend his character flaws from friends and family to his boxing business and, well, that changes things immensely.
Because trapped in the ego-heavy orbit of a man capable of creating a surrogate dysfunctional family is a group of young fighters, who want desperately to please the world’s best boxer and also hope to benefit from the kind of leverage boxing’s biggest star can generate.
Unfortunately for these fighters though, Mayweather is solely about Mayweather. The Money Team, as a stable, merely exists as a prop in his self-written reality show and to give the appearance that there is actually a business beyond what Floyd, himself, does in the ring.
Young fighters like J’Leon Love, Badou Jack, and Ashley Theophane have had their flaws accentuated, not resolved under the watch of Mayweather. Meanwhile, Love, Mickey Bey, Luis Arias, and Chris Pearson have all tested positive for banned substances as part of The Money Team. And while Mayweather was able to pull some strings and deliver world titles to Bey and veteran Ishe Smith, in terms of fighter development, there has been none.
Worse than that, however, are the allegations that Mayweather is using the seemingly bottomless talent pool available to him and putting fighters at danger just because he can and because he thinks it’s a hoot.
Ironically, it may be Mayweather’s relationship with these young fighters– and not anything done in his personal life or any challenge faced in the ring– that leads to the fall of the Mayweather Empire.
If the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) cared to honestly revisit Mayweather’s testimony in September regarding the alleged “dog house” fight ’till you drop sparring broadcast on Showtime’s All Access series, which showed, among many things, a 32-minute round of sparring, Mayweather could not only lose his license to operate a gym, but also his permit to promote fights.
Back when Mayweather testified in front of the NSAC (conveniently not under oath), he claimed that the gauntlet-style sparring was a fictitious occurrence, cooked up and heavily-edited for the benefit of the Showtime cameras. Nothing on that particular All Access episode was real, according to Mayweather, not the “fight to the death” sparring, not the apparent gambling on that sparring, and not even Mayweather’s own taunting presence, egging on the mayhem.
“With All Access we’re able to edit and chop footage the way we want,” he said at the time.
A subsequent lawsuit by two of the three parties involved in those taped sparring sessions– Sharif Rahman and Hasim Rahman Jr., sons of former world heavyweight champ, Hasim Rahman– claims something very different.
The Rahman lawsuit asserts that Mayweather “knowingly misrepresented the facts while testifying before the Nevada Athletic Commission.” The brothers, ages 18 and 24, also claim that they were threatened and coerced into dangerous sparring sessions for extended periods of time while Mayweather presided, making side bets and, in the case of the younger Rahman, threatening physical violence outside the ring should he leave before the end of his session with fighter Donovan Cameron. In other words, the Rahmans are claiming that All Access captured the events correctly and that Mayweather is lying about the true nature of what happened.
Normally, this would boil down to a he-said vs. he-said affair, if not for the fact that Cameron, the third active party in the “dog house” sparring actually confirmed the Rahmans’ story.
After some digging around, The Boxing Tribune found the Fighthype UK video of Cameron, on the day of the Mayweather-Maidana II fight (and well before the “dog house” sparring had ever become an issue) confirming that the events captured on All Access were accurate, including the infamous 32-minute round which Mayweather, himself, had told the NSAC actually featured “three or four” rest breaks:
Interviewer: It was a very intense session…How hard was it, like, thirty-two minutes non-stop?
Cameron: It was intense, I mean, The heat in the Dog House…It’s ridiculous, but you know, I’m a warrior…It’s boxing…and you gotta suck it up and keep going.
Cameron would also confirm in this same video that betting does, indeed, take place at the Mayweather Gym as a proposed sparring session between Cameron and Ishe Smith was supposed to take place with a “grand” on each fighter’s head.
One would think that the statement made by Cameron, alone, would be enough for the NSAC to revisit this case, but, realistically, we know that Mayweather makes major money for the state of Nevada which, in turn, pays the salaries of the committee members. And this is, after all, the same commission that allowed Mayweather to essentially pick the timing of his own confinement for domestic battery when it clashed with the scheduled date of his 2012 bout with Miguel Cotto.
But even if the NSAC chooses to not revisit the case, the Rahman Brothers lawsuit, if not settled out of court, will force the issue back into their hands, where Showtime’s raw footage will be requested under subpoena and Mayweather will have to testify again, this time under oath.
Unless completely cleared of wrongdoing in a real investigation, Mayweather will lose something very big in 2015– His promoter permit, his gym permit, and/or a sizable chunk of change will all be up for grabs. He’ll also make the NSAC look like a cast of fools and thieves for their rubber stamp vote of confidence in his innocence last September.
Meanwhile, as the wheels of justice are laboring along, Mayweather continues to show himself moving further and further away from anything resembling reasonable professional behavior.
In October, shortly after the Rahman Brothers’ lawsuit was filed, he released undefeated super middleweight prospect Luis “Cuba” Arias from an informal promotional agreement. Arias claims that the sole reason for the completely out of the blue dismissal was because Arias and the Rahman Brothers are very close, longtime friends.
This kind of professional behavior shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been following the dysfunctional Mayweather soap opera. It also shouldn’t surprise anyone if this particular flap garners much more steam in the following year and leads to the type of comeuppance some fans and media have been desperate to push on to the public agenda.
The truth is that Mayweather Promotions, The Money Team, etc. are all tied into the words and actions of one soon-to-be 38-year-old man who has burned many, many bridges while hauling ass, carrying bags of cash to the bank and laughing all the way.
But Mayweather’s time is running out and 2015 could very well witness the fall of America’s biggest draw and most dubious of characters.
With his Showtime contract coming to an end and age creeping up on him, time is fast approaching where Mayweather will be worth more as a name on a resume than as a reigning monarch. and that’s when the kid gloves come off. That’s when it’ll be open season on Mayweather and the allies running interference for him now, will turn their backs on him in unison and/or flat-out try to steal large chunks of his business right out from under his nose. The hired friends and well-wishers will thin out considerably. Even the die hard fans will move to one side. It’s inevitable. It’s coming. And, frankly, there’s a case to be made that it’s well-deserved.
While the world wondered who would eventually humble the pound-for-pound kingpin in the ring, it appears as though Mayweather’s own emotional dysfunction and willingness to run his business interests as an extension of his paid-for entourage will be his downfall.
From there, it’ll be straight down hill as all of the privilege afforded to the mega-stars is slowly stripped away.
And even if the Rahman Brothers lawsuit is settled out of court and becomes a dead issue, boxing has a way of eventually turning against its own kind– especially those who have scoffed at its authority and bucked the system.
In short, Mayweather is untouchable as long as he’s producing. As with all stars, flaws and faults will be overlooked as long it’s of greater benefit to have him around than to beat him down. However, with his career near its end and every business interest he touches, personally, degenerating into an ego-splattered mess, the clock is ticking.
Karma will not likely be kind to Floyd Mayweather.
You can email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org or merely join in the movement to cyber stalk his every move. Oh yeah, and buy his book: Notes from the Boxing Underground! Paul is a full member of the Burger King Kids’ Club, a born iconoclast, and an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church.