Where Is Boxing’s Moral Compass?

Boxing’s juggernaut is rooted in machismo. Every jab, every punch is dissected for precision and effect. Fans want their fighters unrelenting and ferocious. We want to see opponent destruction — and for our champions to knock out with brute strength.

It’s the culture of the sport. We cheer our boxers on, and expect them to push through the pain- with blood, bruises and black eyes.

This climate poses a question: Do we make anti-violence concessions for athletes, particularly boxers because the sport is deemed barbaric? Are we desensitized to violence because of the nature of the sport?

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has a lionized career; no other boxer commands the draw that he has. He is a polarizing figure with a bankable brand that shifted the world of boxing best practices. Singularly, he made the sport rewrite the playbook to conform to a new business model, translating into lots of cash. And, for this reason — the sport is radio silent, choosing not to penalize or investigate his storied domestic violence history. Mayweather’s violence against women dates back to 2001. But, most people don’t know this.

The projected revenue in pay-per-view alone for the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight this Saturday, May 2nd is at 6 million dollars with a $400 million total revenue prediction. This includes a payout to the two fighters in a 60–40 percent agreement. Mayweather is on pace to make $180 million.

Billed as the fight of the century, it took less than five minutes to sell the 1,000 tickets available to the public with the lowest priced seats starting at $1,500. Indicative of spectator demand, of one of the most anticipated fights in history, former UFC Champ, Tito Ortiz spent $250,000 on a pair of tickets. This fight is at an all-time premium.

Makes one wonder could this be the reason that the undefeated champ is revered and celebrated? But, what about his misogynistic past? Does it matter not because he is a revenue-generating cash cow?

There are several well-documented incidences of Mayweather’s violence against women and even served 60 days of a 90-day sentence for domestic violence at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas. This isn’t fodder. He is a convicted offender for abusing women. Yet, boxing gives him a pass. Not even a slap on the wrist. There is just no conversation about it; the reaction is to treat it as scuttlebutt in hopes that it will go away.

The National Football League (NFL) instituted an anti-domestic violence initiatives policy after the public outcry of the Ray Rice video was leaked. The National Basketball Association (NBA) put sanctions into place against anti-violence after the Rice incident in the NFL. But, what about boxing? We need to know where it stands on this issue. Or, whether its silence is, in fact deafening.

There needs to be a change in the world of sports that penalizes violence against women and it must be harsh and severe. Consumerism is dictating course of action. We place higher value on the offender because of his ability to monetize and it ultimately tells women that they do not matter.

Non-fatal violence against women is often precursor for murder. Females are generally murdered by people that they know. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a family member or intimate partner killed 64 percent of female homicide victims.

Don’t we have a moral obligation as fans of the sport to advocate and hold our athletes responsible for their actions? We should have a role as citizens to support only athletes that are of good character. It is the right thing to do for mankind. But, how do we do it?

Maybe boycott the fight and hit him in his pockets to take away his marketability as positioned in the Orlando Sentinel? Or, perhaps we should watch the fight and cheer Pacquiao on to victory.

Supporting Mayweather only makes him richer and doesn’t do anything to inflict penalty for his transgressions. It allows him to think that there are no repercussions for violence against women and that he can always pay to make his problems go away.