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Judge delays Mayweather’s jail sentence until after fight

Boxing champ must immediately begin domestic violence counseling


Christopher DeVargas

Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa presides during a hearing regarding the sentencing of boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012.

Updated Friday, Jan. 6, 2012 | 1:45 p.m.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still a free man, thanks to a last-minute decision by a Las Vegas judge to delay the 90-day jail term the boxing champion was to have begun today for domestic battery.

Despite objections by Chief Deputy District Attorney Lisa Luzaich that Mayweather should be treated as anyone else, the judge decided the 34-year-old boxing champ could wait until June 1 — after his scheduled Cinco De Mayo fight on May 5 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena — to begin his sentence.

Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa made the decision after hearing from Mayweather's attorney, Richard Wright.

Wright said there would be great difficulty in rescheduling the fight, which he said is worth “more than $100 million” to the Las Vegas community.

Although there has been no opponent named for that fight, Wright said the bookings for the MGM arena and the block of television time for the pay-per-view fight was set before attorneys negotiated Mayweather's plea bargain in December.

Mayweather pleaded guilty to reduced charges in connection with a September 2010 attack on his ex-girlfriend in front of the couple’s two children.

Although Saragosa said Mayweather could delay serving his 90-day sentence until after the planned fight in May, he must immediately begin a yearlong domestic violence counseling program.

Saragosa set a status check on Mayweather's case for 1:30 p.m. March 15. She said Mayweather will not have to personally attend that hearing as long as he continues to follow the other requirements of his sentence, which include weekly counseling sessions.

Mayweather, who did not attend today’s hearing, had been instructed to turn himself in to begin the 90-day sentence, which could be reduced with good behavior and work time while he is in jail.

In requesting that the sentence begin on June 1, Wright said that would give Mayweather adequate time to train for and then physically recover from the May 5 fight.

Wright also said the 90-day sentence would hurt his training schedule for the fight.

Mayweather's attorney said he was also asking for the delay “on behalf of the community and the economic impact that a fight of this magnitude has.”

Wright said that Mayweather, who has an undefeated 42-0 record, has had his last seven fights in Las Vegas.

“In speaking with representatives of the entertainment and hotel industry and Bill Hornbuckle (chief marketing officer) at MGM, I am told that those last seven fights had a $1 billion impact on this community,” Wright said. “This scheduled fight ... is worth more than $100 million to this community for a fight like this on Cinco de Mayo.”

Wright said he was aware of the perceptions that this could be seen as Mayweather getting favorable treatment.

He said, however, he has asked for similar delays of sentences for people who weren’t as famous as Mayweather so they could get their affairs in order and honor certain obligations and business commitments.

“It’s simply a delay so he could honor that commitment,” Wright said.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Lisa Luzaich said the state’s position “has always been that Mr. Mayweather shouldn’t be treated any different than anybody else that comes into this court or any other court because of his status as a celebrity.”

Luzaich said that a commitment that was made in November with Mayweather’s attorneys was that a trial date would not interfere with a fight. However, Mayweather’s attorneys decided after that to negotiate the case, she said.

“There was no discussion at the time of the negotiation of the fight,” she said. “There was no talk about, well, if there’s a jail sentence, let’s move it around the fight, or anything like that. When the court sentenced the defendant in December, the court gave him time to put his affairs in order.”

She said the court didn’t remand him into custody on that day, as it could have.

“The court gave him until today to turn himself in and surrender and serve his sentence. The state’s position is that is that that’s what he should be doing today — turning himself in serve his sentence, just like anybody else would have to," she said.

Luzaich argued the fight could be rescheduled . "Things get rescheduled all the time,” she said.

Wright said the fight business is “fluid and ever-changing,” as boxing opponents move on and as blocks for cable pay-per-view on various weekends are committed months ahead of time.

“This isn’t 'move it to the next weekend' or something,” he said. “The business just not work that way.”

In making her ruling, the judge pointed out that Mayweather’s sentence does not consist of merely the 90 days of jail time in CCDC, but also 90 days that was suspended in lieu of him completing the rest of the requirements.

Those requirements include a year of domestic violence counseling, a fine of $2,500 and 100 hours of community service.

She said Mayweather has an obligation to her court for a minimum of a year to complete that counseling program.

Saragosa said the counseling was the rehabilitative aspect of Mayweather’s domestic violence sentence, and “it is one of the most important components of the sentence to complete.”

In granting Wright’s request for the delay in reporting for his jail time, Saragosa said Mayweather need to immediately begin, “no matter what his training regimen consists of,” working on the other aspects of his sentence, she said.

She said Mayweather will be given a court-mandated counseling evaluation date and he will need to attend every weekly counseling appointment after that time, "fight or no fight."

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