Mazurek: Boxing needs to be better
Marek Mazurek | Friday, September 1, 2017
Hey. Did you watch the fight?
What do you mean, “What fight?”
The only fight that matters — the Mayweather-McGregor fight.
What’s that? Oh, you didn’t watch it?
Your Pay-Per-View channel wasn’t working? That’s too bad.
Oh, you didn’t watch because you didn’t want to root for the racist or the one who has a history of domestic violence?
That’s too bad.
In his column on Aug. 25, my colleague Daniel O’Boyle argued that boxing as a sport is bigger than just the Mayweather-McGregor fight.
How I wish that were true.
Because if the Mayweather-McGregor bout is what boxing is, then boxing shouldn’t be a thing.
I understand that the sport has a rich history and tradition. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier are giants in American sports, and “Rocky” remains one of the greatest sports movies ever made.
But who do the youth of today see as role models in the sport?
Mayweather has twice pled guilty to charges of battery domestic violence in 2001 and 2002 and spent 90 days in prison in 2012 for hitting his then-girlfriend in front of the couple’s children.
And in between 2001 and 2012, Mayweather has had numerous domestic battery charges filed against him. Some went away, some he settled, but the picture is clear. Mayweather is a danger to women.
Is that who you want your children to look up to? Do you want them playing in the yard saying, “I want to be Mayweather when I grow up?” I sure don’t.
So maybe the narrative could then shift to the good guy, outsider McGregor taking down the woman-abusing Floyd.
Ah, but McGregor is a racist.
He has a documented history of going over the line in his pre-fight comments. He told Brazilian opponent Jose Aldo, “I own this town, I own Rio de Janeiro. I would invade his favela on horseback and would kill anyone who wasn’t fit to work, but we’re in a new time, so I’ll whoop his a– instead.” In 2016, McGregor labeled Nate Diaz a “cholo gangster from the hood.”
And in the press tour before the Mayweather fight, McGregor told Mayweather to, “dance for me, boy.”
People in McGregor’s camp tried to play off the “dance for me, boy” comment as innocent and that McGregor, being Irish, wasn’t aware of the racial implication that phrase had in America.
But I don’t buy it, not with McGregor’s history of offensive comments to back it up.
And before McGregor, another big boxing star, Manny Pacquiao, has been quoted as saying, “If we approve male on male, female on female [marriage], then man is worse than animal.”
But hey, I get it, some athletes are just bad people. Every sport has them.
But only in boxing, it seems, are two horrible individuals given such a large platform and paid so much money simply for showing up.
At least the NFL has the decency to suspend Ray Rice (albeit way too late) and other domestic abusers and doc their pay.
Despite Mayweather’s convictions and history, he got paid more for one fight than almost any other athlete will make in five years.
The problem goes beyond simply labeling Mayweather and McGregor as deplorable individuals. The whole sport of boxing — including TV providers, casinos and even consumers — is at fault.
And I’d love to hear about boxers like Wladimir Klitschko or Anthony Joshua, as O’Boyle recommends.
But boxing organizers aren’t willing to move away from promoting Mayweather. No matter how horrible his actions or comments, he brings in money, and so he gets a platform and an endless stream of money from which he can pay off the women he abuses to keep them from bringing him to trial.
Yes, Mr. O’Boyle, I sorely wish boxing were bigger than Mayweather and McGregor. But it simply isn’t.
And society is the real loser.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.