By ALAN SNEL
Two years ago when Floyd Mayweather was a combatant in that particular “fight of the century” in Las Vegas, Mayweather assumed the marketing spotlight when he boxed Filipino hero Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao, while being a superb boxer, was nowhere near the showman that Mayweather was and it was left to “Money Mayweather” to promote and market a boxing match that packed the MGM Grand Garden Arena May 2, 2015. The bout had 4.6 million pay-per-views, generating more than $410 million in PPV revenue and Mayweather walked away with a $200 million payday.
With Mayweather drawing the spotlight for that fight, he also drew heat and headlines for his infamous domestic violence record during the week leading up to the welterweight championship bout with Pacquiao.
During that week, protesters on the Strip called out Mayweather, who served nearly two months in jail in 2012 after pleading guilty to a domestic violence allegation in connection to a Sept. 2010 incident with his ex-girlfriend, Josie Harris, inside their Las Vegas home.
Even ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith was criticized for being too soft on Mayweather during an interview leading up to that fight in 2015 and for not bringing down the hammer on the boxer for his infamous domestic abuse record that involved other cases besides the Harris incident.
Wednesday’s press conference held by Mayweather and his opponent Saturday — UFC star Conor McGregor — didn’t yield any new information besides some calm trash-talking rhetoric about this boxing stunt that matches an elite MMA athlete against an accomplished undefeated boxer with a history of also striking women.
So, LVSportsBiz.com looked into why Mayweather’s documented domestic abuse record has not surfaced this week. Fans and broadcasters alike were interviewed and the consensus is that the oddity of a colorful and talented MMA character such as McGregor climbing into the boxing ring against an undefeated former champ such as Mayweather has garnered so much marketing attention that Mayweather has been able to sidestep the domestic abuse spotlight.
“This fight is more about Conor McGregor. He’s made this fight his own,” said Duncan McKenzie-McHarg, an Australia FOX Sports broadcaster. “You have a money guy against a Rags-to-Riches guy and more people are relating to Conor.”
Boxing fan Melissa Watkins flew in from Colorado Springs, Colo. for fight week and said Mayweather is not being held accountable for his domestic abuse record because the media has a new story line — that McGregor is crossing from the mixed martial arts discipline into the boxing category.
“A lot of the focus is on Conor and the betting props,” said Watkins, noting the fight’s ticket prices at T-Mobile Arena were too high. She said she could afford to go as high as $300 — about one-fifth the least expensive ticket being sold on StubHub. (That’s a story for another day.)
“He’s not a boxer. He’s crossing into the boxing ring. If it wasn’t Conor, they might be focusing on Floyd Mayweather instead,” Watkins said.
Victor Davila, a FOX Deportes broadcaster, said McGregor “is the different ingredient” in the Mayweather fight and the media spotlight has moved away from Mayweather — and his abuse record.
“Conor eclipses a lot of the story lines,” Davila said.
Just last month, McGregor’s blunt promotional style brought Mayweather’s domestic abuse issue to the surface — but not necessarily in a good way. Harris, Mayweather’s ex-girlfriend, accused McGregor of trivializing the abuse she suffered by using it to promote Saturday’s fight event.
There are still three days leading up to Saturday night’s main event. Perhaps the topic of domestic abuse will surface this week.
Let’s take a look at Wednesday’s photo opps.
Here’s the “Money Belt” that will go to Saturday’s winner. It’s made from gator skin and has a certain WWE look to it.
Look who decided to drop in at a press conference today. Floyd’s dad.
Check out the Golden Knights’ team store at T-Mobile Arena — there are Mayweather/McGregor shirts on sale along with the Golden Knights T-shirts.
And radio row is actually radio square in the media center.
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com