Navigate to News section

Alternatives to Supporting Floyd Mayweather, a Serial Abuser of Women

It costs $99 to watch the boxing champ on Saturday. Spend it elsewhere.

Marjorie Ingall
May 01, 2015
The stage before the official weigh-in for Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao on May 1, 2015 in Las Vegas. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The stage before the official weigh-in for Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao on May 1, 2015 in Las Vegas. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Apparently there is some fisticuffs-oriented thing occurring on Saturday evening. (Not my thing; sweet science, my tuchus.) And there’s good reason not to watch it, even if semi-clothed buff-dude violence is a proclivity of yours.

You see, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., the undefeated champion in tomorrow night’s bout, has quite the impressive history of domestic abuse.

As global human rights organization Breakthrough succinctly puts it: “Over 12 years [Mayweather] has been arrested or cited in 7 assaults on 5 different women. (That’s not counting the times police were called in response to threatened violence.) He has been convicted, pled guilty, and spent time in prison. He has never been suspended from professional boxing. Other pro boxers have been suspended for smoking pot.”

All this is true. Fact-check it yourself.

Watching the fight is tantamount to supporting an industry that protects and enriches Mayweather. The boxer could earn as much as $180 million for this bout. So Breakthrough, a non-profit that works to end violence against women, is running a media campaign to urge folks not to watch. (Tablet contributing editor Lynn Harris is the VP of communications for Breakthrough, and Dean Obeidallah, the comic who co-created the “Fighting-Bigotry-With-Delightful-Posters campaign, has also done projects with the organization.)

Breakthrough’s proposition for people who might be pondering spending $99 (the cost of watching the fight on Pay-per-view) to support a serial abuser: “THIS SATURDAY, DO LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE.” (That’s the actual slogan.) The non-profit goes on to urge, “Spend your valuable time and money on things that don’t support impunity for violence.” Suggestions for alternative activities include, “organize your sock drawer” and “make a donation to an organization working to prevent domestic violence.” (Sadly, the level of need means there are plenty to choose from.)

This initiative made me ponder particularly Jewish ways one could spend Saturday May 2, the evening of the fight. Here are some ideas:

Did you know that this date in 1860 was Theodore Herzl’s birthday? Why not celebrate by going to hear an Israeli band or whipping up some shakshuka?

May 2 was also, in 1903, pediatrician Benjamin Spock’s birthday! In honor of his great advice to American mothers (“You know more than you think you do”), you could fete the day by throwing parenting books into a bonfire!

And on this date in 1946, singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, who was taken from us far too soon earlier this year, entered the world! Celebrate her feminist-Jewish legacy by having a “You Don’t Own Me” dance party!

Or hey, it’s also the day in 1908 that the song “Take Me out to the Ballgame”, written by a Jew named Albert Von Tilzer, was copyrighted! You could go out and organize a neighborhood game, play Nintendo Wii baseball, or read your children the delightful, You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!

May 2 is also the 70th anniversary of President Harry S. Truman signing the Executive Order for the Nuremberg Trials! Why not watch Judgment at Nuremberg and marvel at the vintage smoldering hotness of Maximilian Schell?

And I’m not exactly sure how you’d celebrate the fact that May 2 is the fourth anniversary of SEAL Team 6’s raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad…maybe by pondering the fact that it’s nice not to murder and terrorize people. (This includes people you’re married to, or dating, or who have a restraining order against you.)

Finally, if you really need to see some barely dressed, extremely muscular males pound on each other, my children tell me that The Avengers: Age of Ultron, featuring kick-ass Jewess Scarlett Johansson, opens this weekend—I’m guessing Mark Ruffalo will be shirtless and violent at some point. Knock yourself out.

Marjorie Ingall is a former columnist for Tablet, the author of Mamaleh Knows Best, and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review.