A lot of the scuttlebutt surrounding Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s imminent return to boxing centered on people in and out of boxing believing that the former pound-for-pound ruler needed a big payday. Talk of debts to the IRS and others was denied by both the fighter and his friend and business partner, Leonard Ellerbe.
Now, though, the Associated Press has hard evidence.
The IRS hit the former pound-for-pound boxing king with a lien in October for $6.17 million in unpaid taxes from 2007, according to the Clark County Recorder in Las Vegas. A New Jersey Superior Court judgment from the same year shows he owes $193,000 in state taxes there.
Besides taxes, county records in Las Vegas show the former five-division champ has unresolved debts worth $9,400 to three homeowners associations. Other liens filed with the county say the boxer did not pay nearly $3,900 to a contractor that programmed electronics at one of his homes and $320.10 to his trash collector.
Add it all up: $6,376,620. And ten cents.
Ellerbe continues to deny the claims:
"Floyd Mayweather does not have a problem with the IRS," Ellerbe told the AP on Thursday. "He doesn't owe the IRS $6.1 million ... I don't (care) what a lien says."
"When you have a problem with them, you ain't hard to find — ask Wesley Snipes," Ellerbe said. "You go to jail, they come take your (stuff). He doesn't have a problem."
I know they want to spin this as best they can, but it took years for Wesley Snipes' troubles to become known. More than that, Mayweather has a September 19 date that even after taxes on that and paying his corner and the like will still single-handedly erase this debt. Don't forget he's also the lead promoter for his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.
This isn't about disgracing Floyd or anything. These things happen. Richer folks than Mayweather have screwed up their finances beyond belief. As huge a figure as $6 million-plus is, it's quite fixable in his position.
It is, though, hard to take Ellerbe seriously with this news now so readily available to the public. Like it or not, Mayweather-Marquez will now be firmly associated with one thing: Floyd needing the money.