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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Former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama arrives on stage at an event at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School on December 03, 2018 in London, England. The former First Lady's memoir titled 'Becoming' has become the best selling book in the US of 2018 according to figures released by her publisher Penguin Random House.
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Michelle Obama To Release Guided Journal To Accompany Best-Selling Memoir 'Becoming'

After captivating the world with her best selling memoir Becoming, Former First Lady Michelle Obama has announced a guided journal for readers to pair with their personal journeys.

Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, will serve as a self-help coach of sorts with over 150 inspiring questions and quotes that connect to key themes in her memoir. The journal will also help bring readers to terms with the importance of family and personal reflections as well as the goals they'd like to make a reality.

With the journal, Obama hopes readers will be encouraged to find value in their own personal journeys of becoming.

“I hope you’ll use this journal to write down your experiences, thoughts, and feelings, in all their imperfections, and without judgment…. We don’t have to remember everything," the intro reads. "But everything we remember has value.”

Released last year, Becoming was an instant hit with Obama's admires, reaching The New York Times Best Sellers List with over 11.5 million units sold worldwide. The release was also paired with a perfect world tour with Obama holding conversations around the memoir's elements with famous friends like Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey.

We also received the gift that is Obama stunting in golden Balenciaga boots.

Michelle Obama in thigh high, gold holographic Balenciaga boots. that's it. that's the tweet. pic.twitter.com/tOWgfDlKza

— Joppe DC (@joppe_dc) December 20, 2018

In an interview with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, Obama shared how personal Becoming was by comparing it to the conversations she would share with close friends.

"I'm talking about me, all of me, in a way that I do with my friends, my girlfriends," said. "Now I'm talking about it with the world. It's not that I'm nervous about my story but I hope that it inspires people and it encourages people and it starts a conversation."

Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice will be published Nov. 19 for U.S. and Canada residents.

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Jason Weaver attends the premiere Of Warner Bros. "Lottery Ticket" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on August 12, 2010 in Hollywood, California
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Jason Weaver Turned Down $2M In Exchange For Royalties For 'Lion King' Role

Jason Weaver knows the phrase "chess not checkers" very well. When the singer took part in Disney's The Lion King as a child, his mother made sure her child was set for life.

In an interview with VladTV, the actor/singer looked back on the role that taught him the importance of business in the entertainment industry. Weaver was Young Simba's singing voice, providing us with classics like "I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Hakuna Matata” from the 1994 film. During negotiations, Weaver says his mother refused a $2 million check and opted for a chance to get royalties instead.

"Disney had a reputation for re-releasing stuff. I think at that time they had put out Sleeping Beauty and some of their old catalog from when [Walt] Disney was alive," he said. "They were releasing that stuff when they were releasing the new Disney stuff, so she was able to see the playing field and go, ‘Wait a minute, this is going to make a lot of money over time, so what happens when my son turns 40? Is he going to be able to get a check for this when they eventually re-release this?’"

The $2 million offer was enticing, Weaver recalled. His mother could see the vision Disney had with The Lion King and wanted to be apart of it. "It was so we can play the long game. In her opinion, because that residual income that I generate is so helpful. I make sure I give my mother her just due to props because if she hadn't done that it would have been the biggest mistake off my business career."

Weaver noted how he's made well over $1.9 million since the release of the original film. In total, the film has grossed over $1 billion (including the 2002 IMAX re-release and the 2011 3D experience). The original songs were also re-recorded for the live-action version released this year. Weaver's recordings of the song were apart of the film's soundtrack which currently lives on streaming platforms.

Many have wondered why Weaver only provided the singing voice to Young Simba, but the actor explained to Shadow and Act this year how he had an opportunity to do the speaking voice.

"They actually did offer me the role and the director even called business affairs at Disney and was like 'Yo, did we close out our contract with Jonathan Taylor Thomas? Because I think we want to make the offer to Jason Weaver for the speaking roles,'" Weaver recalled. "And business affairs got back to him and was like 'Nah, we literally just closed the deal.'" At the time, Thomas starred in the comedy Home Improvement and was literally on the covers of every teen magazine out (RIP Tiger Beat.)

Weaver's film choices have landed him with the elite. Other roles include a young Michael Jackson in The Jacksons: An American Dream miniseries, Smart Guy, Lottery Ticket, ATL, Love For Sale, Drumline and Dysfunctional Friends. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

We know that #JasonWeaver was the young singing voice for Simba in the original #TheLionKing, but why didn’t Disney give him the speaking role as well? @itsjasonweaver explained what happened to #ShadowAndAct. 👀 #jasonweaver #lionking #childactor #cast #animation #speakingrole

A post shared by Shadow And Act (@shadow_act) on Aug 9, 2019 at 1:08pm PDT

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Jussie Smollett's Alleged Fake Hate Crime Inspires New Episode Of 'Law & Order SVU'

No one is safe from dramatization on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Their recent season has pulled a bit of inspiration from today's very wild world of news–specifically Jussie Smollett's alleged hate crime that took place earlier this year.

In a clip from this week's new episode, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and the squad look into a case where mega pop star by the name of Mathis is assaulted in New York. But things don't add up leading to a bigger mystery for the team to solve.

As noted in the series, their plots are often "ripped from the headlines" with this being no exception. One can only think Jussie Smollett's alleged assault was brought up in the writer's room. Earlier this year, the former Empire actor claimed he was assaulted by two men in MAGA hats in Chicago. After an intense investigation by the Chicago police, it was revealed two associates of the actor's reportedly planned the attack with him. Smollet was charged with disorderly conduct but was later dropped in exchange for community service and a fine.

In the past, the series has borrowed other big moments from the headlines like Chris Brown's assault against Rihanna ("Funny Valentine," Season 14), the very insane case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard ("Pathological," Season 19), the trial of Casey Anthony ("Selfish," Season 10), the Brock Turner rape case ("Rape Interrupted," Season 18) and the mysterious murder of Jon Benet Ramsey ("Appearances," Season 4).

Watch the teaser below.

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