Floyd Mayweather Jr., waiting for sentencing in Clark County District Court, in Las Vegas, Dec. 21, 2011.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., waiting for sentencing in Clark County District Court, in Las Vegas, Dec. 21, 2011. (By Julie Jacobson, The Associated Press)

Floyd Mayweather Jr. had been in trouble with the law before, but the two months he spent in county jail in 2012 was his first real stint behind bars. One can't help but wonder if it will be his last.

He hasn't exactly been contrite regarding the domestic abuse conviction he took last year for the 2010 beating of Josie Harris, his ex-girlfriend and mother of their three children. During a recent documentary promoting Mayweather's welterweight title defense Saturday against Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on Showtime pay-per-view), Mayweather used phrases like "over-exaggerated" and "trumped up" when referring to the charges.

Not only did he spend two months in Clark County Detention Center, his lawyers tried to get him out on house arrest and claimed their client's health was going to deteriorate because he was on 23-hour lockdown, according to jail officials, to keep him away from the general population.

That had Ruben Guerrero, Robert's father and trainer, mocking Mayweather for doing his time in protective custody with "the snitches."

But when Mayweather was asked during a recent conference call if the episode has changed him, he answered in a roundabout way.

"Well, I mean, it just ... anybody should know, your freedom is extremely important," he said. "There's nothing more important than freedom. Once you lose your freedom, you understand that. Freedom is very, very important."


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Mayweather didn't even have a problem admitting he didn't want to do his time. He did so while talking about how much of a hypocrite he believes Guerrero is for being a devout Christian who recently got arrested for criminal gun possession at JFK Airport in New York City.

"... This guy is going through the airport with a gun and then they were basically making jokes about me, making fun of me, talking about that Floyd Mayweather couldn't do his time," he said.

"I could do my time, but who wants to lose their freedom? There's nothing cool about losing their freedom. Of course, I didn't want to lose my freedom."

Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, claims to be good friends with Mayweather as Golden Boy has helped Mayweather promote his past several fights, including Saturday's. Schaefer feels Mayweather's incarceration is going to have the same effect on him that it had on another great boxer, Bernard Hopkins.

Hopkins, now 48, still an active champion and one of boxing's all-time great stories, was convicted of several felonies at age 17 and spent nearly five years in prison.

"When Bernard Hopkins left prison, he vowed to change his life and never go back and he certainly has lived up to that," Schaefer said. "I think you will see the same here. The way Floyd talks about it, he always sort of like comes back to that.

"Bernard, too. The time in prison still comes up with him. I think it was definitely a life-changing moment for Floyd, as it was for Bernard."

Really? Mayweather had a minor run-in with the law just six weeks after his release from jail last August. Not that big a deal. A woman with whom he has had past problems called police to say she had a verbal altercation with Mayweather and Mayweather had fled with at least one of her personal belongings, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported.

Her items eventually were returned and she did not press charges. Still, has the two months in jail had enough of an effect to scare Mayweather straight? If he's not taking responsibility for the reasons he went to jail, is he just like an alcoholic who refuses to admit his problem and therefore has more?

Maybe the two months behind bars weren't enough to really get his attention. Again, Hopkins spent almost five years in prison.

His take is interesting.

"Whether Floyd did two months in jail or 20 years, if you are not used to going to jail two months is like 20 years, believe it or not," Hopkins told this newspaper Thursday. "I believe he had a chance to look at life a little different, (rather) than being around somebody that might tell him what he wants to hear. And I believe he had a chance to even soul-search himself ... about things you can jeopardize and things that you can forfeit by putting yourself in that position.

"Hey, listen, everybody don't get a second chance. Normally they reach the graveyard or 10 to 20 years in the penitentiary."

Hopkins also believes Mayweather bringing his father back into his corner as lead trainer for the first time in many years has strengthened Mayweather's family situation, which also helps. Mayweather's uncle Roger, who had been the lead trainer, was replaced by Floyd Sr. because the latter is in better health, Floyd Jr. said.

"I just think he grew up to a point where mentally he's saying, 'There was too much that I was not really looking at seriously and now I have to,' " Hopkins said.

"I think that he now knows that if he's in a situation where you have no control in your life, but others are controlling it for you, that's not a good feeling. I don't care who you are."

Schaefer goes so far as to suggest Mayweather is going to do more than stay out of trouble. He thinks that, like Hopkins, Mayweather will become a role model.

"I believe," Schaefer said, "that is exactly where Floyd is headed."

One thing is certain. Mayweather did miss his family, and that emotion can be a real motivating factor in keeping on the straight and narrow.

"The only thing you can do when you're locked up is just do push-ups and read and write, write your fans and write to your loved ones," Mayweather, 36, said.

"That's all I really did. So I think what I thought about every day, I thought about my children. I thought about my family. Of course, thought about my career, and I'm happy to be home."

Time will tell if he's home for good.