Wednesday, I had the privilege of attending the press conference of a major event coming to town: a championship fight being brought to us jointly by Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions. This is a major coup for the city of Detroit and will feature world class fighters, some of them from right here in Detroit.
Golden Boy touts Detroit’s own Cornelius ‘K9′ Bundrage, who will defending his IBF Junior Middleweight title against Ishe Smith of Las Vegas, Nevada. And from Team Mayweather is Detroit’s J’Leon Love, fighting Monroe’s Bronco McKart.
Golden Boy Promotions is headed by former world champion Ocsar de LaHoya, while current champion ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather of Grand Rapids is the brains behind Mayweather Promotions. For these two renowned fighters turned promoters to decide on bringing a major fight to the city of Detroit is amazing. The headliner for the event that will be taking place on Saturday, Feb.23 at the Masonic Temple is Devon Alexander. He will be defending his IBF Welterweight title against Kell Brock.
This event came to be due to the hard work of Karen Addison and the folks over at the Masonic Temple who have such a great deal of hope for a Detroit resurgence. I had the opportunity to speak to former world champion Thomas ‘The Hitman’ Hearns following the press conference and he was like a kid in a candy store talking about having a major championship fight coming to Detroit, produced by the likes of de LaHoya and Mayweather. Hearns spoke of how proud his former trainer, manager and mentor Emanuel Steward would be about this fight. He is sure that ‘Manny’ is up in heaven, smiling from ear-to-ear.
Hearns spoke about the relevance of boxing in his hometown and said his vision is to have more major fights coming to the area. Leonard Ellerbe, the manager of Floyd Mayweather, told the crowd that this will not be the last time that we will see a Mayweather Promotions event here in Detroit. He let the cat out of the bag when he informed us that Floyd wants to defend his title right here in Detroit at Joe Louis Arena. Ellerbe emphatically stated that that is a dream of Floyd’s.
It is the pro-activeness of people like Karen Addison and others here in Detroit that is going to make Detroit’s resurgence a reality. And if any momentum is to be gained from events like this and what people like Dan Gilbert and others are doing, those elected to positions of leadership in Detroit are going to have to quit acting stupid – at least I am hoping that it is only an act.
There is a reason why entrepreneurs and those aspiring to set up shop in Detroit have come here. The Solakas who own Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe; Joe Posch of Hugh’s; Elizabeth Boone and Toby Barlow of Nora’s; and Shel Kimen are all people who have a vision of a special Detroit and they are doing their thing to make something happen.
However, all of the expectations these people have for Detroit cannot become a reality if those elected to leadership roles in the city continue to act like kids and instead of trying to be a part of making Detroit better. They always want to take their ball and play by themselves. This mindset that something or someone is trying to take over the city is just ridiculous. As long as the elected officials continue to trivialize the good that others are trying to do for Detroit, the resurgence that is possible will be stymied.
So to the folks over at the Masonic Temple, the entrepreneurs flocking to Detroit and the representatives from Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions, let me say thank you for believing in Detroit and having the wherewithal and courage to not be dismayed by the negativity of the elected people representing the citizens of Detroit. Keep doing what you are doing and as long as you see a Detroit that will be prominent again, that is all that matters and we can do this with or without the support of those down in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.