Refereeing The Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Vs. Floyd Mayweather, Sr. Meltdown

People are still talking about the explosive, disturbing meltdown between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Floyd Mayweather, Sr. in the debut episode of 24/7 Mayweather-Ortiz. Some are so turned off by it they said they now would not purchase the pay-per-view for Mayweather’s welterweight bout against Victor Ortiz, and with children crying in the background as the soundtrack, it was most definitely an ugly scene; some are entranced, such as myself, even if I found it to be all part of the same Mayweather good/evil/fake/real cycle; some are finding it to be comedic material, because sometimes being a boxing fan means having to have a love of gallows humor.

But a big portion of the response has been who was right and who was wrong.

So I thought I’d put on my Kenny Bayless stripes — rather than my Russell Mora stripes, since in this father-son bout low blows definitely should result in lost points — and referee it up. The standard isn’t clean punching and effective aggression. It’s about whose claims are least factual and who’s most responsible for escalation of hostilities.

Sr.:  “You were undefeated when you started with your daddy.”

Sr. saying this with his brother Roger standing nearby, since Roger is currently Jr.’s trainer, was a pretty un-family thing to do, and he had to know that it would incite Jr., since prior to their recent thaw in relations the pair had a shooting war over Roger time and again. On the other hand, Roger handled the situation with a great deal more maturity than Jr., and he was the one whose ego was more directly challenged. Jr. could’ve reacted better, but he really was just responding to the meanness coming from his dad. Round 1: Jr., 10-9

Jr. to Roger: “I started with you, didn’t I?” Sr..: “I started with you.” Jr.: “You can’t train nobody when you locked up.”

If Sr. had been asserting that Jr. started his life with Sr., that would’ve been true, but he was talking about Jr.’s boxing career, and as a pro, Roger was Jr.’s original trainer, since Sr. was in jail. As for whether you can train anybody when you’re locked up: Roger knows that pain himself. I suppose you could train people for some kind of intrajail boxing league. But nah, it’s Jr.’s round. Round 2: Jr., 10-9

Jr., pointing to Roger: “This is the best trainer right here.” Sr.: “I am the best.” Jr.: “You not even close to him.”

Like most of this argument, everyone is wrong in this leg. It’s degrees of wrong, where the scoring comes in. Nobody but Jr. and Roger think Roger is the best trainer in the world. Nobody but Sr. and maybe Oscar De La Hoya think Sr. is the best trainer in the world; most would say that’s Freddie Roach, and you’d have to go pretty far down the list before you ran into a trainer from the Mayweather clan. But while Roger’s had success with the occasional fighter outside of Jr., he’s basically a one-fighter trainer, albeit a pretty good one. Sr. has improved several world-class fighters measurably besides his son. Round 3: Sr., 9-10

Jr.: “Don’t no fighter want to be with you. De La Hoya left you… Ricky Hatton don’t want to be with you.” Sr.: “I left De La Hoya, you crazy?”

Sr. does have a way of turning off some of his fighters. De La Hoya said on Twitter, though, that he “never left Floyd, Sr.” Floyd, Sr. was De La Hoya’s trainer prior to De La Hoya’s fight with Jr., but while he offered to train De La Hoya for $2 million, the consensus was that he didn’t truly want to train De La Hoya to fight is own son and used the $2 million pricetag as a way of forcing De La Hoya’s hand. It’s true that Hatton said he was disappointed by Sr. Ultimately, for the semi-false Jr. remark about De La Hoya and the pure schoolyard nastiness of Jr.’s “nobody likes you” taunt, Sr. gets the round. Round 4: Sr., 9-10

Sr.: “F*@k this gym, i don’t give a f*@k about this gym.” Jr.: “Why you here?”

Socrates would be proud of that Method, Jr. Round 5: Jr., 10-9

Jr.: “I’m a grown man.”

I guess there are some grown men who argue with their fathers like this, but it’s really just a technicality; Jr. is 34 and he’s past adolescence. This wasn’t the behavior of a proper grown man, anyway. Round 6: Sr., 9-10

Sr.: “You better hold him.” Jr.: “Ain’t nobody gonna do sh&t to me.” Sr.: “Motherf*@ker, put your hands on me. You better not f*@k with me, motherf*@ker.”

Unless I missed something — I didn’t see Jr. put his hands on Sr., and I didn’t see Jr. make a move that suggested he was about to attack Sr. — this appears to be Sr. escalating the rhetoric to the point of violence. On the Stepladder of Uncoolness, that’s a pretty significant step. Round 7: Jr., 10-9

Sr.: “You talking about 41-1?”

Sr. seems to think Jr.’s record is 41-1. It’s 41-0. If he said it was 40-1, it would have been a clever nod to the consensus that Jose Luis Castillo deserved the decision against Mayweather in their first fight, if not also their second. Round to Sr., in that scenario! Instead, it’s just a mistake, and it’s no good point at all. Even 41-1 isn’t a bad record for the kind of competition Jr. has faced. Round 8: Jr., 10-9 [ADDENDUM: On Twitter, Kieran Mulvaney suggested to me that Sr. was saying Jr. would be 41-1 if the two of them fought. It made me doubt my own interpretation. Something to consider.]

Jr.: “You couldn’t fight worth sh&t. you ain’t nothing but a motherf*@king cab driver.”

By Jr.’s definition, nobody can fight worth sh&t but himself; everyone else is a cab driver. But while Sr. wasn’t on the level of his son or brother Roger, he was Ring Magazine’s #5 ranked welterweight in 1977. Sr. could fight. Also, he never drove a cab. That is a lie, Jr.! Round 9: Sr., 9-10

Jr.: “You ain’t sh&t as a fighter, so how you gonna be shit as a motherf*@king trainer?”

It’s a good question, but only in a think-piece kind of way. I’ve often wondered why some people aren’t standouts in a given sport but somehow manage to be good teachers of the sport, like Jeff Van Gundy or the aforementioned Roach. I don’t dock Jr. for repeating the false claim about Sr.’s boxing career, but I do for the internal logic of his question. Round 10: Sr., 9-10

Jr.: “Get the fuck out of my gym, faggot.”

One day I hope using a homophobic epithet will have the same cultural stigma that racial epithets do. I’m more on the George Carlin scale of things, vis-a-vis banned words, but if you’re saying something like this will ill intent, you deserve the same negative popular feedback of someone uttering epithets at someone based on their race, too. For those who maintain “faggot” is a word that is only offensive in certain contexts, I’d recommend this clip from “Louie,” starting especially at around 5:00, and it’s not as if Louie C.K. is some namby-pamby liberal on the issue. (P.S. One aspect of the discussion about the origin of the word is not exactly right, according to etymologists. But the overall point is valuable.) Round 11: Sr., 9-10

Jr.’s concluding rant: “I ain’t bothering nobody. All my cars paid for. All my houses paid for… Roger Mayweather made the Mayweather name, and i took it to the next level. And when it’s all said and done only two motherf*@king Mayweathers that count. And motherf*@ker I’m not no junior.”

You have to do this one line by line: 1. Yes, Mayweather bothers a lot of people, even if you discount some of his court cases as bogus, because he’s also been convicted of some. Then he just annoys the hell out of a lot of people in the boxing world. 2. I have no idea if all of his cars and houses are paid for, but the IRS and others seem to think there are things he didn’t pay for, every year pursuing taxes owed from “Money” Mayweather. 3. Sr. fought before Roger and introduced the Mayweather name into the currency that Roger would expand upon and Jr. would take to a much higher level. 5. Don’t forget about Jeff Mayweather! He is a trainer and past boxer of modest note. And if I was uncle Jeff or Jr.’s kids, I’d feel real salty about this. 6. Rhetorically, “I’m not no junior” is a stylish flourish, but he most certainly is a junior. It’s right in his name. Round 12: Sr., 9-10

Final score: 115-113, Sr.

I actually thought beforehand that Jr. would “win” the fight. At the time, I felt like he was making the most coherent points. But his tendency to hit low really hurt him as the fight wore on, with Sr. sweeping the last four rounds.

Nobody comes out of this looking pretty. Let’s start with those around the two men — nobody wanted to get in the middle of this, the way a friend or business partner or trainer should jave. It took Roger jumping in way, way too late to end the feud. Sr.’s nearly as immature a child as his son, if not worse considering his more advanced age, and the pair’s disregard for the crying children is unsettling. This is a pair of egomaniacs who double as babies being willing to risk their relationship over some insignificant debate over female fighters. Jr. might have ramped up interest in the Ortiz fight with this b.s., but he did a lot of harm to any notion that he can ever be rehabbed as a likable figure.

If you’re into trainwrecks or trash reality television, though, you’re the big winner! (Unless you’re the loser BECAUSE you like trainwrecks and reality television.)

With that, since we have ignored Ortiz, here’s a picture of him modeling underwear, via TMZ.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.