Australian boxing star Harry Garside has criticised Floyd Mayweather for his “disappointing” response to a young male fan, with painted nails, who simply wanted a photo.
In a video released by TMZ, Mayweather, the former multi-division world champion can be heard saying, “You got painted nails, I don’t take pictures with guys with no painted nails.”
For Garside, the 24-year-old who captured the nation’s attention on his way to winning bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, Mayweather’s rejection is his right, but not something he agrees with.
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A major advocate for mental health and doing what you want, Garside’s nails, ballet dancing, and inspirational words saw him become one of the most popular Australian athletes at the Games.
Garside labelled Mayweather a “tosser” in an Instagram post that showed the Aussie holding his medal with his nails painted.
“Guess I won’t be asking fellow Olympic Bronze medallist for a photo,” Garside, who recently announced his move into the professional ranks, said on Instagram.
Not long after, Garside spoke to foxsports.com.au in a more considered dissection of the Mayweather moment.
“I think Floyd has every right to deny him anyone from taking a photo. [But] I don’t agree with it at all, and I think the way he handled it was very poor – to put that young fan on show. I think that’s sad,” Garside said.
“It just showcased to me the society we live in, we put athletes, celebrities, people who have money on a pedestal, when I don’t think they really deserve it.”
While Garside took the high road in suggesting Mayweather might have been having a “really bad day”, he made clear it was absolutely the wrong way to deal with the situation.
“That young person was such a fan … and for him to turn him away like that, and to make it really obvious about why he was turning him away, was, I think, pretty sad,” Garside added.
Garside is currently training in Sydney as he prepares for his professional debut, which will take place on the undercard of Tim Tszyu’s November 17 blockbuster.