By Jake Donovan
It’s not a matchup that has been met with overwhelming embrace by the boxing community, but there were no shortage of willing takers to host the April 1 showdown between Adrien Broner and Ashley Theophane.
Several options were considered before bringing the show to Washington D.C., where the D.C. Armory will host the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Spike TV telecast. The car hits close to home for several involved in the show, making the choice a no-brainer.
“To be able to host a show of this magnitude in my hometown, it means everything,” Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe told BoxingScene.com of his company serving as lead promoter for the event.
Ellerbe grew up in the Northeast section of Washington D.C, his old home mere minutes from the hosting venue. He now calls Las Vegas home, but welcomes the opportunity to tap into his roots, returning to a town that has gravitated towards his business partner add longtime number one client, unbeaten former five-division champ Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“DC has shown Floyd so much love,” Ellerbe notes. “The fans here are so very knowledgeable. The fact that he embraces the city - you can find him in any local restaurant, find him shopping and supporting the local community. He embraces the people of the city.
“Then of course the tremendous amount of talent you have in the Washington D.C./Baltimore area – several of whom you will see on this show, including our very own Gervonta “Tank” Davis” – and it was really a no-brainer.”
There is plenty of D/M/V love to be felt on the show in addition to Ellerbe’s personal homecoming. Broner hails from Cincinnati, but often splits his training camps between his hometown and HeadBangers Gym in D.C., where he has already set up shop.
The gym is run by one of the game’s top trainers in Barry Hunter, who co-trains Broner along with Mike Stafford. He also serves along with his wife, Cologne as the heads of Headbangers Promotions, Inc., who assists in the event along with Mayweather Promotions and Broner’s About Billions Promotion.
The show includes unbeaten lightweight prospect Robert Easter Jr. (16-0, 13KOs), Broner’s stablemate and protégé who is also training at HeadBangers Gym for the duration of camp. The 2012 U.S. Olympic alternate takes a major step up in competition as he faces former 130 lb. titlist Algenis Mendez.
Also on the card is Baltimore’s own Davis (14-0, 13KOs), whose pro debut took place at the DC Armory in Feb. ’13. The 21-year old boxer splits his time these days between the D/M/V area and Las Vegas, where Mayweather has taken the prodigious super featherweight under his wing.
Davis – who faces Guillermo Avila – primarily trains out of Upton Boxing Gym, where he’s trained since the early days of his stellar amateur career.
“I stay around the way, to remind everyone that the choice is yours to what you do with your life,” Davis told BoxingScene.com during a recent media session in Washington D.C. “I was born here, raised here, and want to show them that here I am today.”
Davis is expected to bring a sizeable crowd with him to the venue, as also figured to be the case with veteran lightweight contender Anthony Peterson and local prospects Kareem Martin, Demond Nicholson and Patrick Harris.
“There’s gonna be a lot of love shown for this event, trust me,” insists Ellerbe, who also promises there will be plenty more to come. “For me personally, tt means everything, to see so many people you haven’t seen in years….and to bring such a big event here.
“We look forward to bringing more big events here. We’re having a very important meeting while here to discuss bringing even more events to Washington D.C.”
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox