Mayweather Promotions, West Michigan Sports Commission
team up to help Golden Gloves
Posted by Chronicle News Service
April 02, 2008 03:47AM
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GRAND RAPIDS — Michigan Golden Gloves will receive a check from the West
Michigan Sports Commission for $140,000 this week, a meaningful symbol of
Floyd Mayweather's generosity, and the first major fund-raising coup of the
sports commission's infancy. Wayman Britt, the sports commission's vice
chairman, spent weeks negotiating the deal with Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather's
adviser. The money is expected to cover the entire operating budget for the
May 5-10 National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions at DeVos Place.
"We wanted to make sure the sports commission was at the table, supporting
this effort," Britt said Tuesday. "This is one of our larger events, and there are
going to be hiccups. But we can't afford to have an event like this, a National
Golden Gloves event, go bad." Mayweather Promotions' check to the sports
commission, presented by Ellerbe at a Tuesday press conference, guaranteed
that won't happen. "Floyd has truly been blessed to be in this great position to
help many, many, many people," Ellerbe said. "And it's a direct result of all the
efforts, and support throughout the community, from the people who have been
behind him since day one, whether it was his grandmother, his father, who
taught him everything that he knew as a kid, or all the people who helped along
the way. Everyone has played a vital role in doing that." The sports commission
received the check, but solicited the money under an agreement with Golden
Gloves that any funds it raised will be "directly deposited/transferred" to
Michigan Golden Gloves Association, the non-profit responsible for operating
the national tournament, to pay National Golden Gloves costs. Mike Guswiler,
executive director of the sports commission, said the $140,000 would be turned
over to Michigan Golden Gloves as soon as today, in accordance with that
agreement, which The Grand Rapids Press obtained Tuesday through the
Freedom of Information Act. Guswiler said the sports commission's work on
behalf of Michigan Golden Gloves "opens up the book of why we exist."
The sports commission was not created when Michigan Golden Gloves secured
the national tournament two years ago, but came on board to help in fund-
raising and organizational capacities, which proved instrumental in securing the
windfall from Mayweather Promotions, and immediate financial security for 77-
year-old Michigan Golden Gloves. "We truly do want this event to be the
hallmark of what the West Michigan Sports Commission gets involved with,"
Britt said. "Our board is truly committed to athletics and youth in our
community." Dave Packer, Michigan Golden Gloves' executive director,
credited the sports commission's efforts and said Mayweather's generosity has
"set the future for numerous young people throughout West Michigan, and
throughout the state as a whole, so that they can live their dream, possibly as
becoming an amateur boxer, but succeeding in life overall."
Ellerbe said he studied Michigan Golden Gloves' budget for the national
tournament line by line, and said he was "very surprised" that the tournament
could be conducted for the estimate of $141,875, and that those costs "clearly
were not inflated." Ellerbe said Mayweather was home in Las Vegas,
recuperating from "a few bumps and bruises" incurred Sunday at WrestleMania.