Floyd Mayweather Jr. arrives for a workout at the Mayweather Boxing Club on September 2, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather Jr. will defend his WBC/WBA welterweight titles against Marcos Maidana on September 13 in Las Vegas.
Eric Jamison—Getty Images
By Sean Gregory
September 10, 2014

Sadly, it took the Ray Rice video to expose another very troubling sports character to a larger audience. Over the years you might not have given much thought to Floyd Mayweather Jr., often called the “best-pound-for-pound fighter on the planet,” given that boxing is largely irrelevant.

A quick primer: He’s never lost a fight. He’s very rich. He has twice pleaded guilty to attacking women, and spent two months in jail for domestic battery in 2012. He’s been accused of battering women several other times. His ex-fiancee filed a civil suit against him last week, in which she accuses him of assaulting her.

Now Mayweather is defending the NFL’s original two-game suspension of Rice, who attacked fiancee Janay Palmer—now his wife—in February and was dropped by the Baltimore Ravens this week after video of the assault was made public. “I think there’s a lot worse things that go on in other people’s households, also,” Mayweather told a group of reporters Thursday. “It’s just not caught on video, if that’s safe to say.”

He also said he’s been falsely accused of domestic attacks.”Like I’ve said in the past, no bumps, no bruises, no nothing,” Mayweather said. “With O.J. and Nicole, you seen pictures. With Chris Brown and Rihanna, you seen pictures… You guys have yet to see any pictures of a battered woman, a woman who says she was kicked and beaten [by Mayweather]. So I just live my life and try to stay positive, and try to become a better person each and every day.”

In advance of Mayweather’s next fight, this Saturday, the Washington Post‘s Rick Maese penned an illuminating profile of the champion fighter. In discussing his criminal past, Mayweather actually mentions two civil rights icons:

“Malcolm X been to jail; Martin Luther King been to jail. The list goes on and on. You live and you learn. But I think the main thing, I think people should just learn from the mistakes that are made. And I’m not saying that when I went to jail it was a mistake. But things happen and you live and you learn.”

While Rice may never play in the NFL again, and fans are boycotting merchandise with his name on it, Mayweather isn’t doing too badly for himself. For Saturday’s fight, the boxer will likely net $30 million no matter what. Ticket sales, and pay-per-view purchases of $65 to $75, will bring him millions more.

“Whether you pay to see me win or pay to see me lose, I’m the smart one at the end of the day,” Mayweather told Maese, “because you pay me.”

Perhaps that’s a payment worth skipping.

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