- Mayweather Promotions is already scouting amateur athletes who could make an impact at the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
- The company CEO, Leonard Ellerbe, has long been a trusted advisor to Floyd Mayweather. He has also been responsible for the soaring popularity of the American lightweight Gervonta Davis.
- Ellerbe told Business Insider in Las Vegas last week that “character” is one of the top traits a young man or woman can have when it comes to transitioning from an amateur into a professional.
- Ellerbe intends on promoting many shows throughout the year, and has an event on Friday where he is matching his young prospects in tough fights.
- Whoever can thrive in such tough environments stands a good chance of becoming the next Davis or Mayweather, Ellerbe said.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
LAS VEGAS — Leonard Ellerbe said he’s already scouting US Olympic hopefuls as he looks to sign young talent which he can develop into the next Floyd Mayweather or Gervonta Davis.
As the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, Ellerbe, 54, appears to have the upper hand when it comes to talent identification. He was, after all, by Mayweather’s side when the boxer grew from a boxing prospect to a five-weight world champion and, finally, into one of sport’s few billion dollar athletes.
Ellerbe first met Mayweather when the fighter was a teenager, training in Las Vegas. After Mayweather won a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games, he turned pro, and, before long, Ellerbe provided security detail, became a trusted advisor, and then his right hand man and CEO of a company Mayweather founded in 2007 to heighten his own earning capabilities.
Though Mayweather has retired from boxing after a flawless 50-0 pro career, Mayweather Promotions continues to polish boxing diamonds. None is as tough right now as “Tank” Davis, a two-weight world champion southpaw who has proven to be a bona fide ticket-seller in Baltimore, as well as Atlanta, and is a fighter who will soon be headlining his own pay-per-view shows on the Viacom-CBS owned broadcaster Showtime.
Speaking to Business Insider at the VIP Lounge in the MGM Grand last week, Ellerbe told us about the characteristics a teenage amateur athlete must possess to catch his eye, about his Las Vegas show on Friday, February 28, and the future of Mayweather Promotions.
Ellerbe said he’ll “definitely” be attending the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo so that he can scout the top athletes competing in boxing. When asked who he’s got his eye on, he said, “there’s several [Americans].”
USA Boxing recently announced its 13-strong team for the upcoming Olympics, which features promising names like the 2019 World Amateur Championship silver medalist Keyshawn Davis, the 2019 Pan American Games champion Oshae Jones, and the Las Vegas native Rahim Gonzales, who trains out of the local City Athletic Boxing club.
An Olympic medal tends to provide a solid foundation for success should that athlete turn professional. Of the three US medalists at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro two are already world champion pros — Claressa Shields and Shakur Stevenson — while the third, Nico Hernandez, fought seven pro bouts before joining the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, which we previously dubbed “the bloodiest show in town.”
On potential American medalists at this summer’s tournament, Ellerbe said: “There’s always opportunities every time you step up in there, you just have to continue to work hard. There’s a number of excellent young fighters who are moving forward and competing for the same thing [a medal].”
Ellerbe will looking at one personality trait in particular in the months ahead.
You’ve got to have ‘character’
“Times have changed now,” Ellerbe said. “Character plays a big role, it’s a big part of it. Obviously, the talent-level [needs to be high].
“There’s a number of factors that are involved when it comes to evaluating how you are going to obtain young fighters.”
On character, Ellerbe said it’s how you are “as a man or a woman.”
Any novice athlete Ellerbe signs could end up competing on regional shows like his upcoming event “Sin City Showdown” on Friday at Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in Vegas.
Fellow promoter Michelle Rosado said on Twitter this week that Friday’s event is “a Mayweather Promo card … they match their guys tough.
“Should be a good one.”
—Raging Babe (@RagingBabe) February 26, 2020
Those who continue to win in tough match-ups and thrive on these shows could end up on a fast-track to success, joining the likes of Mayweather Promotions stand-out Davis, who is unbeaten in 23 fights (22 KOs) and is one of the top 15 boxers on the planet right now, according to this Business Insider list.
“Our show on Friday, a ShoBox show, is a showcase for a couple of our young, rising stars and top prospects,” Ellerbe said.
Ellerbe originally had Malik Hawkins in the main event, a 6-foot welterweight Mayweather Promotions signed last year. A medical issue prevented Hawkins from competing this weekend and he has been replaced by Sanjarbek Rakhmanov who fights Keith “The Bounty” Hunter in a 10-round rematch at super lightweight.
“In the co-main event we have Richardson Hitchins who was on the Haitian Olympic team in 2016. Then in the opening bout we have Kevin Newman, a young rising super middleweight who is very flashy.”
Both Hitchins and Newman have world title aspirations. Ellerbe said: “We’re looking forward to the progress these young prospects are making.”
As for the future, Mayweather Promotions intends on putting on many shows this year, Ellerbe said. “It’s just a question of putting together the strategy, what we’re doing now. We’re consistently building [more shows each year] and we’re always open to working with new fighters.
“I’m not looking at working with an overabundance of fighters, but enough of a stable to manage fighters effectively — their careers, and staying very hands-on.”
“We’re a top tier promotional company,” he said.