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Mitch Perry Report for 5.1.15 — On the so-called Fight of the Century

If you were growing weary of reading Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota every day in your local sports pages for the past four months, Buc fans, congrats. Now you’ll just be reading about Winston every day up until football season begins. Let’s just hope for all concerned it’s only in the sports pages.

Thursday night the NFL draft’s opening round kicked off in what is considered to the biggest non-football sports weekend in America this year. In addition to the NBA and NHL playoffs continuing (including the Tampa Bay Lightning moving into the second round vs. the Montreal Canadians), you’ve got the Baltimore Orioles playing three “home” games at Tropicana Field this weekend in St. Petersburg; the Kentucky Derby late Saturday afternoon, and what is being called the latest version of the Fight of the Century: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao from Las Vegas.

This match up, scheduled to start after 11 p.m. Eastern Time and available at the highest pay per view price ever for a championship fight ($99), has received reams of hype during the past few months. Most casual boxing fans like myself, though, realize that this fight would have been truly worthy of the hype if it had happened four years ago.

But can we just talk about the true hypocrisy about the media and the culture surrounding this fight?

Two words: domestic violence.

Lots of important people — mostly men — told us last fall that they realized how serious this issue was when the whole Ray Rice debacle hit the fan: the NFL’s embarrassment after the Baltimore Ravens running back received just a two-game suspension after an incident involving his finance in Atlantic City was reported. The outrage got so loud that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell raised it to six games — and then it was for the whole season after the video surfaced of Rice cold-cocking his finance went global.

Flash forward to this weekend’s big fight. Does anybody care that Mayweather Jr. has been charged with domestic violence six times, and actually served two months in jail in 2012 for beating the mother of three of his children?

While the NFL begin imposing harsher sanctions on their players accused and convicted of this crime, the Nevada Athletic Commission has never disciplined Mayweather Jr., despite the fact that 26 of his 47 professional fights have taken place in Nevada. Other than Keith Olbermann and Christine Brennan from USA Today, though, this inconvenient truth has been missing from most of the coverage of this fight. Oh, and Mayweather Jr.’s getting paid $180 million for the fight, where tickets are going for $140,000.

In other news …

Eric Ward is your new police chief for the city of Tampa. Like Jane Castor, he sees nothing wrong with how the police has been citing black bicyclists.

Meanwhile, might a City Council member or two dare to oppose Ward when he comes before the board for approval based on that stance?

On Wednesday night, members of the black community spoke out about the police and other issues in Tampa.

And Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner is out raising money for his race for clerk of the circuit court — which takes place in a year and a half.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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