THIS RAN ON ESPN.COM ON APRIL 16
In the ring, Floyd Mayweather Jr. can be relied upon to show off a stunning skill set of pugilistic tools that have made him the sport's acknowledged pound-for-pound kingpin. Outside the ring, when there's a microphone around, Mayweather frequently shows off a personality that quickly puts people who absorb the "Money" persona in a "love him" or "hate him" camp.
As for which camp the folks at PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have taken to, well, let's just say they probably won't be buying the Mayweather-Miguel Cotto pay-per-view on May 5 to cheer on the 35-year-old ace pugilist/buzz creator.
On Saturday's debut screening of HBO's "24/7" miniseries, the docu-drama/info-tainment effort to educate fans and potential buyers of the May 5 event, Mayweather was questioned by an off-camera interviewer about his training camp.
"In this training camp, we're boxing nonstop, and when we get in the ring, it's called the doghouse," Mayweather said. "So if you look at the ring, it's always surrounded by a bunch of people, 'cause that's the doghouse. When you go to a dog fight and you watch pitbulls fight ..." And here he pauses, seeming to understand he has entered into iffy, Michael Vick-ian territory.
He continues: "I don't want to get in trouble by -- what's the people called, PETA? I don't want to get in trouble with the PETA people, but ... the animal rights people, but s---, I don't give a f---, 'cause I wear mink coats. I'm gonna wear chinchilla and I'm gonna rock mink coats. The same people want to tell you, 'You can't wear animal fur and s---, them's the same people that's eating chickens, eating cows, eating steak. So f--- what they're talking about."
When informed about the diatribe, PETA launched a counterpunch at Mayweather. After watching the segment, a spokesperson offered PETA's official statement on the matter:
"People who proudly admit to wearing fur are either ignorant or arrogant about animal suffering. And people who allude to attending dogfights are inviting the authorities to investigate a potential felony. PETA promotes living compassionately, including choosing vegan meals, but you don't have to be a vegetarian to object to a cruel blood 'sport' in which dogs are left mangled, bloody, soaked in urine and saliva, and unable to walk, and the 'losers' are killed for not having been 'game.' Unless Floyd Mayweather's agent will strangle, shoot or beat him to death if he loses, his comparing boxing to dogfighting is as absurd as it is offensive."
Also, Mayweather's claim that PETA advocates who lobby against the fur trade also chow down on meat -- that didn't pass my sniff test. My wife and kids are vegan, and I have a bit of knowledge on the subject. PETA weighed in on that notion as well:
"PETA has an all-vegan office policy, and the people who work for PETA do so because they are driven by the cause to end cruelty to animals. Typically, the majority of employees are already vegetarian or vegan when they come to PETA."