Boxer Floyd Mayweather was released from a Las Vegas jail early Friday after serving two months of a three-month sentence in a misdemeanor domestic battery case.
The undefeated boxer walked out of the Clark County Detention Center beneath the glow of street lamps and glare of TV cameras to resume a boxing career that his lawyers and personal physician warned in court documents might be at risk. They said jail food and water didn’t meet Mayweather’s dietary needs, and lack of exercise space in a cramped cell of fewer than 98 square feet threatened his health and fitness.
Mayweather looked fit as he donned a leather Miami Heat cap, pulled a gray hooded sweatshirt over his head and shared hugs with about 20 family members and friends, including his 12-year-old daughter, Iyanna Mayweather, and his manager, Leonard Ellerbe.
He said nothing to the media as he got behind the wheel of a blue Bentley sedan with several friends inside, including rapper 50 Cent, and drove away.
A lot has happened in Mayweather’s world since he was jailed June 1.
With no television in his solo cell, he couldn’t see arch rival Manny Pacquiao lose his WBO welterweight title June 9 to Timothy Bradley.
Mayweather, who goes by the nickname "Money," wasn’t around to celebrate last month when Forbes magazine named him the world’s highest-paid athlete for 2011.
He wasn’t able to attend the ESPN network ESPY awards to accept the best fighter award.
And he missed fiancee Shantel Jackson’s private birthday bash last week at a Las Vegas steakhouse with friends, including 50 Cent. Las Vegas Review-Journal celebrity columnist Norm Clarke noted that Mayweather sent diamonds.
But Mayweather is now a free man, even if his next opponent is not immediately clear.
Ellerbe declined comment outside the jail late Thursday, where he waited with friends, including Mayweather adviser Sam Watson and several others.
Promoters for Mayweather’s main rival, Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao, plan a fight Nov. 10 at the MGM Grand Garden arena in Las Vegas, Nevada Athletic Commission executive Keith Kizer said. Pacquiao’s opponent hasn’t been named but Mayweather wasn’t believed to be on the list.
Pacquiao, who earned $62 million in fights and endorsements last year, ranked second on the Forbes richest athletes list behind Mayweather and his $85 million in fight earnings.
To fight in Las Vegas, Mayweather will need a new license from the Nevada Athletic Commission, Kizer said Thursday. His last license, for the May 5 bout against Miguel Cotto, was for one fight only.
If Mayweather applies, commission Chairman Raymond "Skip" Avansino Jr. could decide to grant approval administratively or summon Mayweather before the panel for a public hearing, Kizer said.
Mayweather received about 30 days off his 90-day jail sentence for work time and good behavior. Nevada state law allows inmates to receive up to 10 days off per month for cooperating with jailers and working or being willing to work. Las Vegas police administer the jail, and a department spokesman said Mayweather wasn’t required to work and didn’t misbehave behind bars.
The 35-year-old boxer pleaded guilty last year to reduced domestic battery charges stemming from a hair-pulling, arm-twisting attack on his former girlfriend, Josie Harris, while two of their three children watched. The plea deal allowed him to avoid trial on felony charges that could have gotten Mayweather up to 34 years in prison if he was convicted. Harris and the children have since moved to the Los Angeles area.
As a high-profile inmate, police say Mayweather was kept separate for his protection from the other 3,200 inmates in the downtown Las Vegas facility.
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa rejected arguments that Mayweather’s accommodations were cruel and unusual. The judge ruled June 13 that while Mayweather may not have liked the regimen, he had sufficient space and time for physical activity and the only reason he wasn’t eating properly was because he was refusing to eat the meals he was given.
The judge earlier gave Mayweather a break – allowing him to remain free long enough to make the Cinco de Mayo fight against Cotto at the MGM Grand Garden arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather won to run his record to 43-0 with 26 knockouts. Cotto lost for just the second time in 38 fights.