The Pugilist

Did Mayweather harrass fellow boxer’s wife?

The Pugilist

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Terry Foster, a columnist for the Detroit News, painted a disgusting portrait of Floyd Mayweather Jr., alleging the pound-for-pound king harassed the wife of another boxer and made sexually suggestive actions toward her.

Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said Mayweather and Shawana Bundrage were trash talking about the fight and that nothing untoward or unsavory occurred.

The men were at the same show on February 23 in Detroit, which featured Cornelius "K9" Bundrage defending his IBF super welterweight title against Ishe Smith, but left with dramatically different impressions of the event that unfolded during the Showtime-televised fight between Mayweather and Bundrage's wife, Shawana.

Foster referred to Mayweather's actions as "despicable" and said Mayweather gyrated his hips in her face. Later in his column, he characterized Mayweather's actions as bullying.

“Shawana Bundrage did not deserve to have a man gyrate his hips around her face while watching husband Cornelius Bundrage fight in the ring last week at the Masonic Temple.

"She did not deserve a grown man getting in her face and screaming while minding her own business. She also did not deserve the laughter that surrounded this despicable act that was captured by our photographer, Clarence Tabb Jr.

"But that's exactly what happened.

The culprit was champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was in town to promote the fight and his fighter, Ishe Smith, who took Bundrage's light-middleweight title belt during the bout. Here is the funny part about it: Mayweather wore a hat that said "Money. Power. Respect."

Mayweather showed he had the money and power. He certainly did not show respect, although I am sure he wants everybody to respect him.”

Later, Foster, who like Mayweather is African-American, suggested Mayweather's actions were typical of the way black men treat black women.

“We, too, often talk about how much we love our black queens and that they are the greatest women on Earth. But then we demean them in rap songs and, in this case, in public. Mayweather treated Shawana Bundrage poorly. He showed no respect for her or her husband.”

Mayweather couldn't be reached for comment. But Ellerbe, who was promoting the Bundrage-Smith show, vigorously defended Mayweather.

He said if Mayweather's actions were so bad and out of line, Bundrage should sue him.

"We would defend this one, believe me," Ellerbe told Yahoo! Sports.

Ellerbe pointed out that Shawana Bundrage serves as her husband's boxing manager and that the incident dated back to an early news conference to announce the fight (which Mayweather didn't attend).

Ellerbe said Shawana Bundrage told Smith that her husband would beat him and then go on to fight and beat Mayweather.

It was Ellerbe's opinion that everything was simply trash talk and part of the fight game.

"I was there and this is straight [expletive]," Ellerbe said. "I know what was said. I heard and saw what was going on.

“She said her fighter -- and that's the context we were dealing with her, as K9's manager, not his wife -- she said her fighter was going to whip Floyd's fighter and then was going to whip Floyd's ass.

“I heard the back and forth going on, and I was part of it. This is completely irrelevant and stupid, believe me.

"Floyd said nothing harassing to her and he did nothing to harass her. He was trash talking her, but she was trash talking him.

This was written by a hometown reporter who I guess was upset that the hometown boy [Bundrage] lost. There is no truth, none, in any of what he says.

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Photos: Clarence Tabb Jr / The Detroit News

None of this was personal, and what that reporter didn't write was that after it was all over, we all shook hands and [embraced] and left with no hard feelings."

Shawana Bundrage did not comment on the incident, telling Foster via email, "I do not want to make any comments to glorify his actions."

Ellerbe said it is stories such as Foster's that make Mayweather hesitant to appear in public.

"This all started at a press conference and it was a non-story at first because when it first started, Floyd wasn't even there," Ellerbe said.

"It got blown into this big thing because apparently this reporter knows that someone is going to read what he has to say if he writes about Floyd.

[Shawana Bundrage] seems like a nice young lady. This was all just boxing talk, trash talk, and to say it was anything more than that is a complete lie."

Mayweather is one of the most visible athletes in the world and is starting a six-fight, 30-month deal with Showtime that will pay him record amounts of money.

Obviously his actions are open to interpretation. But the next time he decides to trash talk someone -- whether it's a fighter's wife, manager or anyone else -- he'd be wise to limit it to the talking part and stay out of the personal space of his intended target.

That would guarantee that no one could misconstrue his intentions.

Kevin Iole

Award-winning veteran sportswriter Kevin Iole is the national boxing and mixed martial arts reporter for Yahoo! Sports. Kevin previously covered boxing for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and other publications, writing on some of the biggest names and bouts in the sport.

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