When Floyd Mayweather returns to the ring for his final fight against Andre Berto this Saturday, he'll have an unexpected guest sitting ringside: former Arizona Cardinals assistant coach Jen Welter, the first female coach in NFL history.
Last Friday, Welter revealed on Twitter that she had accepted an invitation from Mayweather's team to attend his Sept. 12 bout. She has since faced criticism for aligning herself with a convicted domestic abuser, but Welter believes that the invite may be a sign of Mayweather's willingness to learn, change and perhaps finally acknowledge his violent past against women -- something he has never done before.
In an interview with USA Today Sports published on Monday, Welter explained her thoughts about attending the Mayweather fight.
"Me accepting this ticket does not mean I support his past, but hopefully it is a way to be an instrument for change in the future,” Welter said. “What I do know is I certainly can’t do anything good by rejecting what seems to be an olive branch.”
Welter is well aware of Mayweather's abusive and repugnant past, and she won't be flying to Las Vegas this week to simply take in a boxing match. She told USA Today Sports that she accepted the invite on the condition that she gets a meeting with Mayweather, but admitted she didn't know if that was actually going to happen or not.
Welter is well suited to talk with Mayweather. She has a doctorate in psychology and experience in working with NFL players who have had domestic violence issues.
“I think if you saw the reaction that maybe my players had to having a female coach and loving it … maybe there’s a need for more of that," Welter told Yahoo's Katie Couric last Wednesday.
“You have an opportunity to make them better men and not just better football players, and ultimately that is the goal," she added.
Welter will be carrying a similar objective to Las Vegas this weekend. "Could I be wrong?" she said to USA Today, "Sure. But that’s how I took it and how I am going into this situation."