Of the many women Floyd Mayweather has abused, one of the saddest and most public tales belongs to Josie Harris. On the morning of Sept. 9, 2010, Mayweather repeatedly pummeled her as their own children watched.

Mayweather served about two months in jail for the crime—a sentence he had delayed to fit his fight schedule. And yet despite the court records, police reports, and his own plea deal, Mayweather continues to insist that Harris’s story, as well as the stories of myriad other women, are untrue.

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So when Katie Couric offered up a few softball questions as part of a pre-fight video package, Mayweather jumped on the chance to paint his entire rap sheet as one long misunderstanding. He suggested that people thought he was guilty because he’s a fighter and said he already had three strikes against him because, “I’m black. I’m rich. And I’m outspoken.”

After Couric mentioned his jail time following the assault on Harris, Mayweather had this response:

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“Did I kick, stomp and beat someone? No, that didn’t happen. I look in your face and say, ‘No, that didn’t happen.’ Did I restrain a woman that was on drugs? Yes, I did. So if they say that’s domestic violence, then, you know what? I’m guilty. I’m guilty of restraining someone.”

Couric did not follow up with any of the myriad records or witness statements that contradict Mayweather’s denials.

Harris fired back today with a civil lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County, seeking “damages for Mayweather’s false, malicious and defamatory statements about Harris made during the Couric interview.”

Mayweather’s vicious lies about Harris, made to a world-wide audience, were designed to hype Mayweather’s upcoming fight with Pacquiao (in which Mayweather is believed to have earned a staggering nine-figure income), to avoid bad press by deflecting responsibility for beating the mother of his children, and instead, to cast Harris as a violent, drug-abusing, aggressor who needed to be restrained. These lies were calculated to cause severe harm to Harris both personally and professionally.

... In the days preceding a boxing match that had been in the works for years, a match that is believed to have garnered the highest purse and largest pay-per-view audience in history, Floyd “Money” Mayweather could not afford the bad press, public outcry and backlash that would have certainly resulted had he truthfully answered Katie Couric’s questions about the morning of September 9, 2010. Instead, Mayweather chose to tell lies about Harris: lies that labeled her as a drug-abuser and an aggressor.

The suit says it believes damages “will exceed the sum of $20 million” and claims defamation as well as both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. It goes on to recount Harris’s beating at the hands of Mayweather, and notes that what the boxer told Couric was “intentionally designed to deceive the public, while viciously defaming Harris.”

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It was not Mayweather’s “restraint” of Harris that caused her serious injuries, rather it was his beating of her. Mayweather’s false statements are particularly hurtful, in that Harris is the victim of domestic abuse—abuse that was witnessed by Harris’s three young children—and she suffered serious injuries at the hands of an apathetic and unapologetic Mayweather. And Harris did not lie when she told the police that Mayweather beat, punched, and kicked her repeatedly in front of her children, causing her serious injuries.

A full copy of the complaint is below.

Image via Getty