Conor McGregor is audacious but let's focus on Floyd Mayweather’s misogyny
Coping: Conor McGregor’s audacity attracts attention but Mayweather’s views on women are horrifying
On August 26th of this year, Conor McGregor will fight Floyd Mayweather at the T-Mobile Arena on Nevada’s Las Vegas Strip in an historic and hitherto unprecedented boxing bout. Fight fans the world over are tense with excitement. Boxing fans and pundits alike are vociferously predicting that McGregor has no chance of winning, or even of conducting himself competently.
MMA commentators and fans (myself included) recognise the Irish man as one in a generation. In the event of a loss, McGregor will come away from this fight exorbitantly wealthy and with an untarnished reputation in the world of MMA. In the event – declared impossible by all commentators – that he wins, he will rob Mayweather of the opportunity to break legendary heavyweight Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record, and utterly embarrass the world of boxing.
The focus of much commentary is, understandably, on McGregor and the potential trajectory of the fight. His penchant for extravagance, scathing (sometimes obnoxious) wordplay and flamboyant dressing draw judgment, particularly in Ireland. His audacity in feeling entitled to fight Mayweather despite a total absence of professional boxing fights has ruffled a lot of feathers. However, in conjunction with his flashier and more ostentatious features are a consistent capacity to publicly take mindful personal responsibility even in loss, a devotion to the dogma of hard work, and a famed reputation for loyalty.
But none of that matters, because the focus should be on Mayweather, whose character, lore and behaviour all belie the reputation he has in the media of being a rambunctious scamp who takes care of his family and has fulfilled the American dream.
This is indeed a superfight, and one to get excited about. I’m not suggesting Mayweather’s professional achievements shouldn’t be considered impressive, or that he doesn’t deserve to be paid his market value for this fight, which is – at time of writing – potentially about a hundred million dollars. However, Mayweather’s ability to command a sum like that is tied to his public image, and there is a disconnect between that image and the man himself. Along with his 49-0 record he has several convictions for battering women. The last major incident, for which he served just 60 days (the starting date of which was delayed so Mayweather could fight Miguel Cotto, bringing Nevada millions in revenue) was particularly callous.
In 30 Days in May, a documentary produced by Mayweather to hype that fight and document his last month of freedom before going to prison for beating his ex-partner in front of their children, we get a glimpse of the real Floyd. He comes across as a narcissistic man-child with a victim complex. One of the ugliest elements displayed, however, is his misogyny. He makes it very clear that women are assets to own and control, accessories to the solipsistic autobiography running in his head.
“When it comes to females…even though you can’t drive 10 cars at one time…you got people that got 10 cars. So, you’re able to keep maintenance up on 10 cars… I feel that as far as when it comes to females, that same thing should apply. If you’re able to take care of 20, then you should have 20.”
Of course, people can change, but contrition is necessary for that. In an interview with ESPN in January of this year, Mayweather laughs when asked about his history of battering women. Showing no contrition, his response is a line he pulls out whenever he is asked about this: “Only God can judge me.” When asked what he regrets directly after dismissing his history of serial battery, Mayweather responds: “I don’t regret anything.”
He is a sensational boxer, and he doesn’t deserve our respect. I’ve followed McGregor’s career since his early days of losses and struggle, but I would still be cheering for him this August if I knew nothing about MMA, or boxing. Mayweather’s flawless record and ability to generate money should not insulate him from the consequences of his actions. The sad reality is that they certainly have. It may be the case that the only person to drag Mayweather’s filthy behaviour into the fore of public thought will be McGregor himself. Not only God can judge him. The rest of us ought too as well.