Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor World Press Tour - Toronto
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Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe Talks McGregor Vs. Mayweather Superfight

"Someone's getting knocked out," predicts Mayweather's moneyman, Leonard Ellerbe.

 

Leonard Ellerbe once had prizefighting aspirations of his own—growing up in northeast Washington, D.C., as an amateur fighter—until hand injuries derailed his boxing passion and set it in another direction. After meeting Floyd Mayweather through the boxer's uncles early on in his career, Ellerbe left a six-figure job as a strength and conditioning coach to join Mayweather's team to do security. "Nobody starts at the top. I started at the bottom and worked my way up," relays Ellerbe.

Two decades later, Ellerbe has risen to the top of the industry by becoming 12-time champion Floyd Mayweather's right-hand man as the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, forming the most powerful duo in combat sports. "I'm blessed to be in this situation I'm in," says Ellerbe. At 40 years old, Mayweather will become the third athlete ever to eclipse the billion-dollar mark in career earnings once he steps foot in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (Aug. 26) to take on Conor McGregor.

The grind doesn't stop for Ellerbe, who hasn't had a day off in weeks, and the passion to further the legacy of Mayweather Promotions will last long after Mayweather officially retires from boxing. VIBE caught up with Ellerbe shortly after the Mayweather-McGregor world tour of press conferences, which included sold-out stops in Los Angeles, Toronto, Brooklyn and London.

VIBE: Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather, Saturday, August 26th. That feels good to say.
Leonard Ellerbe: It's going to be sick, bananas. It's going to be lit, as the kids say.

What did you think of the world press tour, and did you accomplish your goal with it?
The Brooklyn stop was second to none. It was an unbelievable turnout. The presser was just on fire, filling up arenas for a press conference. I think we did accomplish our goal.

I was there as well—the atmosphere was second to none. I found it funny when you checked ESPN boxing analyst Dan Rafael after the press conference in Brooklyn. I know you two don't always see eye to eye.
Right: I told him no matter what you say or the sh*t you write, you can't convince people not to watch. They're going to buy this fight if they want to buy it.

What have you learned about Conor McGregor over the past month or two?
I learned from Conor that he's everything that I thought he was. He has a dynamic personality that captures people's imaginations and attention. He has an enormous following because people believe in him. He has a cultlike following.

Is Paulie Malignaggi the right partner to spar with Conor? (Editor's Note: This interview took place before Malignaggi left McGregor's camp.)
I haven't seen any of the sparring, but it's definitely a smart move. Bringing in a guy with a lot of experience, I like the move. You could tell he's taking it very seriously. He's trying to figure out a way to take down Floyd.

Is this the biggest fight ever?
This is the biggest fight in the history of combat sports.

Will it be tough for this fight to actually live up to the hype?
No, I think we're going to get a knockout, and I think Floyd is going to look his best ever.

Does passing Rocky Marciano's 49-0 boxing record have any meaning to Floyd?
Well, it means more to the fans and the media than it means to him. He's happy sitting at home, riding around in his jet with all his friends and family.

Since you know him best, what's your personal favorite fight of Floyd's career?
I like the Arturo Gotti fight and the Diego Corrales bout. The Gotti fight was Floyd's first headlining pay-per-view in Atlantic City.

At what point was Floyd Mayweather at the peak of his boxing powers, in your opinion?
There's so many. I'll go with Canelo [Álvarez], that was one of my favorite fights. He [Floyd] won every round.

Which Mayweather fight had you the most worried about Floyd?
The Marcos Maidana fight. Maidana II, when he got buzzed in the fourth round. The Mosely fight as well.

Most would say the De La Hoya bout that resulted in Floyd winning a split decision.
F**k out of here. There was no split decision with De La Hoya. He beat him easy. Anything can happen, though. Floyd got that dog in him, a granite chin. He can take it.

What are these last couple weeks of preparation like until August 26th?
I think it's more being mentally prepared and knowing that he's looking forward to going out there and performing at his best.

Have you noticed any changes in his training regimen?
He takes a little more time off. It comes with time. Your body's a little more sore. You move a little slower, and it's OK. You use the wisdom and experience you've gained over the years to your advantage.

So what's next for you? Any more stints with Dancing With The Stars or WWE lined up?
No, we're going to continue to promote these fights. We got Gervonta Davis, he's next up. We got Badou Jack. All these young guys are going to be in a position to be in big events, and that's what we're going to make happen. I'm blessed to be in this situation I'm in. We have a great team led by Nicole Craig. All of these people are key components in us being successful.

How did you end up meeting Floyd?
I met Floyd through both of his uncles, who were good friends of mine. I started out doing strength and conditioning and actually security. Nobody starts at the top. I started at the bottom and worked my way up.

Did you leave a six-figure job on the table?
One hundred percent. I was training high-profile athletes, celebrities and entertainers. A couple news anchors in Washington, D.C. A couple football players and other businesspeople as well. I had a vision and Floyd's had an incredible vision; I've followed his lead, he's followed me, and we've put together an unstoppable force. We've changed the game.

Can you let us in on any big names that will be in attendance on fight night?
I know a bunch of athletes are trying to go. A lot of the NFL players, it depends on their schedule, I know they're trying to get here. I can say LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kobe Bryant and Draymond Green have reached out.

Alright, so August 26th, McGregor versus Mayweather. What happens, Mr. Ellerbe?
Someone's getting knocked out.

Contact your local cable provider to order Mayweather vs. McGregor on August 26 at 9 p.m. EST on Showtime Pay-Per-View for $99.99.

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A Billie Holiday Documentary Is Currently In The Works

A documentary about beloved jazz great Billie Holiday--appropriately titled Billie--is in the works and will reportedly feature new interviews from the icon's contemporaries.

According to The Hollywood Reporter James Erskine will helm the film and has received support from the successor to Billie Holiday's estate, Concord. The film will follow Holiday's life through the eyes of 1970's journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl.

More than 200 hours of interviews with Charles Mingus, Sarah Vaughn, Tony Bennett, Count Basie will be featured, as well as some of Holiday's classmates, her step-parents, her cellmate, her drug dealer, her pimp and even the FBI agent who arrested her will be in the documentary.

Kuehl died in 1979 without completing her book about the "Strange Fruit" singer. Her interviews will be seen for the first time in the forthcoming documentary.

Holiday, real name, Eleanora Fagan, died in 1959. Her life was brought to the big screen in 1972 in the now beloved film Lady Sings the Blues, starring Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams.

"We are thrilled to be working with the creative team of James Erskine and New Black Films, who have taken great care to produce a documentary that honors the life and work of Billie Holiday in an exciting, genre-defying way," she said in a statement.

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Michael Rapaport Walks Back Meek Mill "Trash" Comments

Michael Rapaport clearly doesn't want the smoke with Meek Mill because the comedian has seemingly taken back the "trash" comments he made about the "Going Bad" artist while speaking to Sway Calloway on his radio show.

Meek Mill, great story. Great look. Trash rapper. Sorry

— MichaelRapaport (@MichaelRapaport) February 18, 2019

On Tuesday (Feb. 19), Rapaport further explained the comments that created beef between himself and the Philly rapper.

"I should not have used that word," the 48-year-old said, reiterating past comments about Mill's career. "He's absolutely not a trash rapper...It was wrong and it wasn't the right word. He's not a trash rapper, I can't say it. I wish I could take that word back. I'm harsh with my hip-hop opinions and it's the wrong word. It's not valid, it's not true, it's not reasonable. It was a stupid word to use."

Rapaport went on to defend the other comments he made on Twitter about Mill reminding listeners that he noticed the "Dreams and Nightmares" rapper's evolution in hip-hop and his importance to the community.

Previously, Rapaport offered his opinions about Meek Mill, calling his lack of response to Drake during their infamous beef "wack" and insinuating that he had no skill.

 

 

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Model Slick Woods poses backstage for the Savage X Fenty Fall/Winter 2018 fashion show during NYFW at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on September 12, 2018 in Brooklyn, NY. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Savage X Fenty

Slick Woods Celebrates Mom's Release from Prison

After the birth of her son Saphir in September of 2018, and making headlines after walking Rihanna's Savage x Fenty A/W Show during New York Fashion Week while in labor, Slick Woods has more reasons to celebrate now that her mother has been released from prison after 17 years.

"Cried a lot," the 5'10 model wrote on her Instagram post featuring her mother. "Me n' mom, fresh out after 17 years in prison."

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Cried a lot 😳 Me n mom, fresh out after 17 years of prison 😴

A post shared by @ slickwoods on Feb 18, 2019 at 6:45pm PST

Since the age of four Woods was raised by her grandmother between Los Angeles and Minneapolis, after her mother was sentenced to prison for manslaughter. Unfortunately, Woods life at the age of seven shifted bumpier after her grandmother divorced her husband and the two found themselves spending time in cars and motels. The unofficial face of Fenty eventually became homeless and was on track to what many felt was the same path as her formerly incarcerated mother.

"I was in a place where I didn't believe in anything, so I was susceptible to evil energy," Woods said in an interview with E.S. Magazine in 2018. "I'm so easily turned. It's not something I'm proud of," she continued. "And when everyone in the world is telling you that you're going to be just like your mother, and then you're behind bars..."

Thankfully for Woods, after a stint in jail of two to three months at the age of 18, she was able to choose a different path for herself, and a year later she modeled for Kanye West in Yeezy, allowing her to one day provide for her mother once she was released from prison.

"Being a gang member, everyone expected her to not be the best mum," Woods said in an interview with Elle Magazine back in 2018. "But my mum was very hands-on with me as a child. My mummy read to me in the womb," she said. "And she's proud because she knows that everybody expected me to be exactly what she was. She went to prison when she was 19. I became a model at 19. And I can take care of my mother when she gets out."

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