Friday, June 11, 2004 | 9:30 a.m.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. might be able to evade the punches of his boxing opponents, but he was unable to evade the laws of the state of Nevada on Thursday as Justice of the Peace Deborah Lippis found him guilty of hitting two women at a Las Vegas nightclub last August.
Lippis found Mayweather, the WBC lightweight champion, guilty of two counts of battery for punching Herneatha McGill and Karra Blackburn at the Ra nightclub in the Luxor on Aug. 1, 2003.
Mayweather was given suspended six-month prison sentences on each count and a $500 fine or 50 hours of community service for each count. Lippis said if Mayweather didn't complete "impulse control" counseling and stay out of trouble for a year, he would spend a year in prison.
Lippis also ordered Mayweather to have no contact with McGill or Blackburn.
Lippis appeared to be angered by Mayweather's failure to take responsibility for his actions, saying if he didn't change his attitude she'd put him in prison in a "New York minute."
"You may be a terrific and famous fighter, but that doesn't make you a god," Lippis said.
McGill and Blackburn both testified that they were standing at the bar at Ra on Aug. 1, 2003 when Mayweather, Tom Summers and another man walked in and spotted them. McGill said because she'd had previous problems with Mayweather, she wanted to leave.
McGill said as Mayweather got closer she read his lips and he was saying he, Summers and the unidentified third man should go hurt her and Blackburn. Before the women could get away, McGill testified, Mayweather punched her in the jaw and Blackburn in the head.
McGill said she was trying to get away when Mayweather hit her.
"I fell to the ground," McGill said, "and Karra tried to help, and as she was, Mr. Mayweather hit her as well. After she was hit I helped her up and we ran out of the club."
Mayweather's lawyer, Richard Wright, said he found it hard to believe that neither woman had bruises and neither needed medical attention.
McGill thought the problems may have stemmed from her friendship with Josie Harris, the mother of Mayweather's three children.
"I have no clue (why Mayweather punched me). I still have no clue," McGill said. "I think it was because I was friends with his kids' mom. He didn't like her to have friends."
McGill and Blackburn didn't file a police report until 16 days later. They said they were initially scared to file a complaint because Ra security guards and bouncers said if they did file a report they would "pay for it in the streets."
But Wright argued that the reason McGill and Blackburn waited to file reports was because there were warrants out for their arrest. Wright said it wasn't until they contacted an attorney, John Moran III, that they decided to press charges.
Both McGill and Blackburn said their warrants had nothing to do with the delay. They did say, however, that they asked a process server whether they would be arrested on the day they came to court to testify.
The prosecutor refused to reveal the nature of the warrants and Lippis ruled the reason for the warrants inadmissable in Mayweather's case.
Mayweather testified that he did he not hit either woman and that he did not know them. He said he saw McGill and Blackburn steal Summers' wallet, and he followed Summers out of the club to see if he caught them and got his wallet back.
"A guy (Summers) was wrestling with security and I ran outside because I was being nosey," Mayweather said. "I told security the guy got his wallet taken. The security guards grabbed me and I said 'Don't put your hands on me,' and I got handcuffed."
Mayweather said once the police arrived he was let go, but Chief Deputy District Attorney Scott Mitchell said it was what Mayweather failed to remember that was the problem.
Mitchell said Mayweather was issued a citation for allegedly picking up a female security guard and shaking her while in front of Ra.
Mayweather's credibility was brought into further question when he said he really didn't know Summers. He said although Summers had worked in his corner for two or three fights he didn't even know his last name.
Lippis said she found the testimony of Mayweather and Summers to be some of the strangest she's ever heard from the bench.
"The devil is always in the details," Lippis told Mayweather. "Your attorney is sterling, but the two ladies if their testimony was different in any way it wasn't noticeable."