Thursday, June 14, 2012 | 2 a.m.
So the jailed Floyd Mayweather Jr. was crying uncle, and who could blame him? To believe his court papers, his boxing career is at risk of collapsing because he’s withering away in jail, serving a 90-day sentence that began June 1 for domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend.
He has to drink tap water instead of bottled water, the jail food isn’t as good and plentiful as what his private chef prepares back home, and he’s right, there just isn’t room in his cell for his fitness equipment. Well, damn.
But none of that won the sympathy of Melissa Saragosa, a justice of the peace. On Wednesday she denied Mayweather’s request to finish his sentence under house arrest, crushing the crazy notions of his legal team that the “inhumane” conditions of the champion’s incarceration will potentially end his career. No boxer had defeated Mayweather in more than 40 career fights. On Wednesday, a woman in a robe delivered a knockout blow.
His attorney had argued that because of his celebrity status, Mayweather was being unfairly treated as a hardened criminal, isolated in a small, one-man cell 23 hours a day. Cut him some slack, his lawyer asked; let him do his time at home.
Besides the rigor of house arrest — those ankle bracelets can chafe, you know — he still would have to finish 100 hours of community service and complete a year of domestic violence classes for assaulting ex-girlfriend Josie Harris last September while their children were present. (He’s paid a $2,500 fine, maybe from loose change he found in his sofa.)
Here are snippets from the lawsuit seeking Mayweather’s release from jail. Then I’ll give you my take.
• Dr. William Voy, a respected local doctor and Mayweather’s longtime physician, declares: “I am concerned about Floyd withdrawing, developing anger he cannot dissipate through the usual means of dedicated exercise and training, while he begrudging(ly) tries to accept the way he believes he is treated in a very unfair and inhumane way.
“I am also concerned that Mr. Mayweahter (sic) may have difficulty in dissipating his anxieties and natural anger because of a lack of exercise and training and this may lead to his withdrawal and the onset of depression.”
My take: So, when Mayweather pulled Josie Harris’ hair, punched her and twisted her arm while their children watched, he was a much calmer, collected and mature man.
• The document states: “Dr. Voy expressed deep concern for Mr. Mayweather’s health and explained any lengthy period of time with an inappropriate diet, coupled with lack of regular exercise, will most likely lead to irreversible damage at Mr. Mayweather’s physique. Such damage could and, most likely, would lead to Mr. Mayweather being unable to continue his boxing career.”
My take: We’re talking three months in jail, not three years. For an undefeated fighter, Mayweather certainly has a low tolerance level. If he can’t fully tend to his body, maybe he could at least work on his soul.
• The document says Mayweather can’t participate in group counseling, education or meetings available to general population inmates. Lawyers also write Mayweather can’t eat, watch TV or play cards with the others.
My take: Although I agree Mayweather needs to be involved with those therapeutic sessions as part of the rehabilitation process, the fact he isn’t playing cards and watching television with other inmates is comical. I’m a little surprised that with the NBA Finals having started this week, Mayweather — a basketball fan who regularly posts his bets on Twitter — wasn’t upset about not having a TV in is cell.
I was fundamentally opposed to the idea of early release or special privileges to make the sentence easier. It would have made a mockery of the legal system in my beloved hometown.
But I think there is room for negotiation moving forward. So let’s talk money.
Floyd, as a condition of receiving bottled water in your cell or some time in the jail’s workout room, how about donating a few million dollars from your next fight to the Clark County School District so it can hire back some teachers? And a few million for a shelter for battered women? Or to a youth boxing organization — one with a code of ethics for young men?
Because here’s the thing, Floyd. Your reputation in Las Vegas, a place you call home, is at an all-time low. Let’s talk redemption.