Las Vegas, NV (April 1, 2008). . . Boxer and entertainer Floyd Mayweather is giving back to the sport that launched him to superstardom. Mayweather recently announced that he will pay the projected operating budget for the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions taking place in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan from May 5 through May 10. The tournament is being hosted by Michigan Golden Gloves, the non-profit organization through which Mayweather took his first steps to launching what is now recognized as one of the most highly decorated careers in the sport of boxing. Mayweather, who plans to attend the tournament’s opening ceremonies on May 4, is ecstatic about helping out..
“This is an opportunity to recognize the organization that got my career started,” said Mayweather. “If there is anything worth putting my money towards it is the Michigan Golden Gloves, who have been helping kids excel in the sport of boxing for years. I truly believe and hope there is a kid out there can be as good, if not better than, me.”
Mayweather’s manager Leonard Ellerbe flew to Grand Rapids today and presented the West Michigan Sports Commission with a Mayweather Promotions check for $140,000—the entire operating budget for this year’s tournament—during a lunchtime ceremony held in downtown Grand Rapids.
“Floyd wanted to financially support the program he started his amateur boxing career with and acknowledge their long-standing and deep commitment to young fighters throughout the state looking to find a career in the sport,” said Ellerbe. “He feels he is in the position he is in today because of the Golden Gloves Tournament and his amateur success in the Michigan boxing program.”
In addition to covering the cost of the event, Mayweather’s generosity will now make it possible for Tournament officials to extend gratuitous tickets to under-privileged kids in the area, who would have been unable to pay to watch the three-day event.
“Floyd is our Oprah Winfrey, our “Big Give”, and we are in awe of his financial commitment to the tournament,” said Dave Packer, Executive Director of Michigan Golden Gloves. “Not only can we give some deserving kids tickets to attend, but his generosity will enable us to take the proceeds from the tournament and continue our work with amateur fighters in the State who could end up having a career path similar to his.”
Before become boxing’s pound-for-pound best, Mayweather won three national Golden Gloves Tournaments in three weight-classes in the only three years he competed in the tournament—1993, 1994, and 1996. His path to national success started when he was 16, when he won his first Golden Gloves Tournament in Little Rock, AR. During the three years he competed, never lost a single bout.
The Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions, taking place at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, is an annual event that crowns the best amateur boxers from around the country. The tournament is held at a different location each year and is open to all non-professional boxers age 16 and over. Notable winners of the national tournament have included Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Mayweather’s schedule next opponent Oscar de la Hoya.
The Tournament of Champions is controlled by the Golden Gloves Association of America, Inc. and is planned, promoted and directed by Golden Gloves Charities. Winners from the regional Golden Gloves tournaments go on to compete in the annual national competition, the Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions.