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Floyd Mayweather Jr. recounts jail time ahead of first bout since release

Mayweather predicts Robert Guerrero is ‘going away to do time after this fight’

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Steve Marcus

Undefeated WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, faces off with Robert Guerrero during a news conference at the MGM Grand Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Mayweather will defend his title against Guerrero at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday.

Mayweather and Guerrero at Final News Conference

Undefeated WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, faces off with Robert Guerrero during a news conference at the MGM Grand Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Mayweather will defend his title against Guerrero at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday. Launch slideshow »

Mayweather and Guerrero Arrive at MGM

Undefeated welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. makes his official arrival at the MGM Grand Tuesday, April 30, 2013. Mayweather will defend his WBC welterweight title against Robert Guerrero at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday. Launch slideshow »

Mayweather Workout

Undefeated welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. works out at the Mayweather Boxing Club Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Mayweather will defend his WBC welterweight title against Robert Guerrero at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 4. Launch slideshow »

Floyd Mayweather Jr. responded to the bravado-laced theatrics of Ruben Guerrero on Wednesday with a counter few were aware was in his arsenal: self-restraint.

Mayweather put his head down and mostly ignored a minute-long rant in which opponent Robert Guerrero’s father repeatedly called him a “woman beater” at the final press conference before his WBC welterweight title defense at MGM Grand.

In his younger years, Mayweather likely would have barked back and created a spectacle. Mayweather said he’s matured in large part because of the result of the incident Ruben Guerrero referred to, a 2010 domestic violence charge filed by longtime girlfriend and mother of his children, Josie Harris.

On Saturday, Mayweather enters the ring for the first time since he served two months in the Clark County Detention Center last summer for the misdemeanor. Those close to Mayweather say the incarceration changed and, as much as it can for someone who coined himself with the “Money” nickname, humbled the champion.

“It was a minor setback for a major comeback,” Mayweather said.

Mayweather had mostly declined to discuss his short time behind bars since getting released last August, but he’s opened up slightly before his date with Robert Guerrero.

Mayweather had asked to be placed under house arrest in June, calling jail "inhumane" and saying incarceration was a threat to his career. Parts of his stories make last summer’s motion for an early release sound even more preposterous. Despite the tyranny of tap water and poor prison food, Mayweather said he put on muscle by doing hundreds of push-ups every day.

“The outfit that they give (prisoners) started fitting tight,” Mayweather said. “But they have no mirrors, so I didn’t know. I think it was like the day before I was going to go home, I took off my shirt and all the inmates were looking through window, like (nodding head) ‘Yeah.’”

The criminals gawking at Mayweather had indirectly provided the inspiration for the world’s best fighter to stay in shape earlier during his sentence. Although Mayweather was separated from the other prisoners, he could sometimes catch a glimpse of others in the confinement wing.

“When I’d go take a shower, I looked through the door and see some of the inmates cut up,” Mayweather said. “I’m like, ‘Damn, how do you get big like that in here?’”

Mayweather listened to his neighbors working out around the clock and quickly figured it out for himself. He bought a deck of cards with his food at the jail’s commissary and started going through it up to three times per day and doing push-ups corresponding to every card.

The routine occupied a few hours, but it wasn’t enough. With only one hour allowed out of his cell per day, and none on Saturday or Sunday, Mayweather described the days as long.

“I was just sitting in a room every day reading magazines,” Mayweather said. “Of course, my lawyer would come see me every day. But that’s how I was able to get through it is because he would come every day and talk to me about positive things.”

One reason talking about jail irks Mayweather is the status of gun charges against Robert Guerrero in New York. Mayweather felt like everyone was “pointing the finger” at him when jail time loomed after his last fight, but they haven’t extended the same judgment toward his opponent.

Robert Guerrero could face up to four years in prison if convicted for an arrest last month when he tried to carry an unloaded pistol and three bullet magazines onto a flight at John F. Kennedy Airport. He characterized the whole situation as a misunderstanding — he alerted the ticket agent about the gun but was unaware of New York laws — and said repeatedly it was already taken care of without the severity of the punishment Mayweather suggested.

“My belief is I’m going to go in there and beat him down on May 4,” Robert Guerrero said. “What he needs to be worried about is that and not whatever’s going to happen with me after the fight.”

If Robert Guerrero does head behind bars, however, Mayweather could supply all kinds of information. His two-month stint provided its share of surprises, including the other prisoners being “very talented” in their own way.

Mayweather described listening to chess games between two inmates who lived six cells away and built their own pieces and boards. It’s not an experience Mayweather will look back fondly upon, but he did learn in those 60 days last year.

“I think everybody goes through ups and downs,” Mayweather said. “I don’t think anyone has a perfect life. That just happened to be a part of my life. It was something that I was faced with, so the only thing I can do is take the good with the good and the bad with the bad.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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