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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John Singleton, Diahann Carroll And More Highlight Importance Of Black Film In 'They've Gotta Have Us' Trailer

Just when you think you know everything about black cinema, photographer and artist Simon Frederick arrives with a multifaceted story told by the actors and directors who made cinematic history.

They've Gotta Have Us, a three-part docuseries presented by Netflix and Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing platform, takes viewers on a journey of black cinema as told by legendary actors like Harry Belafonte, Don Cheadle, Whoppi Goldberg and more. Fredrick develops a full circle journey into black filmmaking by highlighting the careers of Sidney Poiter, Hattie McDaniel and Dorothy Dandrige as they faced racism and brash stereotypes in the golden age of Hollywood.

Belafonte opens up about his career as he was the first black male actor to star in a lead role next to a white actress in the 1957 film, Island In The Sun. He also shared how he and Dangdrige weren't given the same treatment as other big-name stars–specifically in the 1954 classic, Carmen Jones.

"Dorothy and I were constantly in search of ways to do things that people had never done before, like two very attractive people kissing who were people of color," he said. "Because of the issue of race we were not given the time to do it that other films would have been given under the circumstances."

"Otto Preminger shot that picture - a huge color CinemaScope, big screen – he did that in 10 days," he added. "We could barely get the lines right before it was a take. We were lucky it came off as well as it did. The film was a huge success."

In addition to the actors of the golden age, the series also takes us through iconic films starring Denzel Washington and the work of the late John Singleton and Diahann Carroll. According to Entertainment Weekly, Singleton frequently checked in with Frederick about updates with the project.

They've Gotta Have Us has been in the works for some time. Frederick previously shared the opening sequence of the project in March 2019 featuring commentary from Jussie Smollett and Cuba Gooding Jr. BBC 2 also aired the project in 2018.

Rising stars like John Boyega and Nathalie Emmanuel open up about their journeys in the Star Wars and Fast and Furious franchises.

The see the trailer for They've Gotta Have Us up top and be on the lookout when it hits Netflix on Feb. 4.

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Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio.
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College Football Officials Pondering Policy Changes After Incident With Odell Beckham Jr.

A domino effect might be on the horizon after Odell Beckham Jr.'s encounter with LSU players and a security officer that led to arrest warrants and debates about possible NCAA violations.

Speaking to USA Today Sports Thursday (Jan 16) executive director Bill Hancock said officials from the College Football Playoff will investigate practices that allow non-players to engage with players on the sidelines during events such as the national semifinals and championship games.

“Being on the sidelines is a privilege,” Hancock told the outlet. “Along with any privilege comes responsibility, because the focus should be on the people playing and coaching in the game, rather than on any visitors. The CFP will be reviewing its policy for allowing guests onto the sidelines and into locker rooms at future games.”

While the LSU Tigers beat Clemson Monday to secure a spot in the national championship, all eyes were on the Cleveland Browns wide receiver for handing out money to players and slapping the buttocks of a Superdome security guard. The incident took place in the LSU locker room. It was initially reported that the money was fake but it was confirmed that the money was actually real.

Video of the incident went viral and just a few days later, New Orleans Police Department public affairs officer Juan Barnes confirmed that the security guard filed the complaint. An arrest warrant for simple battery was issued against Beckham Jr. on Thursday.

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Statement regarding Odell Beckham Jr. incident: pic.twitter.com/7cN3jOLCj6

— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 16, 2020

LSU will now investigate the incident to confirm if any NCAA violations were committed and if it will affect any of the players seen in the video.

Many have pointed exactly why the officer was in the locker room in the first place. As the players were celebrating their big win, the security guard allegedly threatened the players who were smoking cigars in the locker room. Stephen A. Smith reacted to the news and the NCAA possible violation as "bogus."

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Whitney Houston And Notorious B.I.G. Among 2020 Rock Hall of Fame Inductees

The 35th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will welcome a mixed bag of legends that include the late Whitney Houston and Notorious B.I.G. as well as Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and psychedelic folk band T.Rex.

According to Variety, the ceremony will air live for the first time ever on May 2 via HBO. Viewers can expect a long list of tribute performances given three of the inductees (Houston, B.I.G. and T. Rex) are no longer with us. Biggie, born Christopher Wallace, is the seventh rapper to given the honor. He joins Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-D.M.C., N.W.A., the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and Tupac Shakur. The Brooklyn legend is also the first rapper to be inducted since Shakur in 2017.

Artists who were nominated but not inducted this year were Pat Benatar, Judas Priest, Kraftwerk, Dave Matthews Band, MC5, Motorhead, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden and Thin Lizzy. Khan has been nominated a total of six times–solo and with her group Rufus.

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Enjoy some of their best moments in music below.

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