Leonard Ellerbe talks DAZN/Canelo, Wilder/Ortiz, Ruiz, and Gervonta Davis
By Jeandra LeBeauf
Jeandra Lebeauf: I heard you over here talking about the recent fight. Before we talk about the event while we’re here and Gervonta’s fight coming up in Atlanta, that’s pretty awesome. But from a businessman point of view, I know that a lot of the fans didn’t like it, especially boxing purists. Is there ever any circumstances where that would make good business sense to say, bring fans over to boxing to make them wait in an arena and watch something else?
Leonard Ellerbe: It’s actually one of the most disgusting things I’ve seen from the business standpoint of making a conscious decision to have the fans wait. It’s unheard of. And actually I had tweeted something that night that, that will never happen at a Mayweather Showtime Event. Never. No one would even come to us and ask us something asinine like that. But again, it’s amateur hour at its best.
Jeandra Lebeauf: I don’t know, maybe they was trying to get in the Guinness Book of World Records? Most people at a fight party or something like that. They could spin it that way.
Leonard Ellerbe: No, I don’t think so. The fans paid to come see Canelo and the other fighters on the card, not sit there and watch a UFC fight. Kudos to Dana and them for allowing the MGM to show it. That was very nice on Richard Sturm’s part and all the brass at the MGM to allow that to happen. The only comment that I have is that shit would never happen with us.
Jeandra Lebeauf: So now we are heading into November 23rd. I’m missing my daughter’s birthday for this fight, the 23rd. Deontay Wilder, looking at his evolution as a fighter, it’s amazing to see the way he communicates, the way he connects with the fans. What’s been most impressive to you about Deontay’s evolution from the very beginnings to now?
Leonard Ellerbe: He’s come into his own. I mean, he’s the top dog in the heavyweight division. All roads lead through Deontay Wilder. He’s proven that fight after fight. He’s my CTV. He brings nothing but excitement and that’s what the fans want to see. And he, single handedly, has put the heavyweight division, honestly, back on the map. Because the heavyweights were kind of a lost art when Floyd Mayweather was in business. He put the heavyweights out of business and now that Floyd’s retired, Deontay’s putting the heavy heavyweights back on the map, and you have to commend him for that. He’s the reason why the fans want to see the heavyweights go at it, because again, he brings nothing but excitement. And I think that come next Saturday night you’re going to see another snapshot of his evolution and how much better that he’s gotten over the years. And he’s really developed his skill set and I’m really excited to see him go to work next Saturday night.
Jeandra Lebeauf: Behind Wilder and Ruiz, how would you round out the top five heavyweights, behind those two?
Leonard Ellerbe: Of course, Anthony Joshua. That’s a good question and Fury obviously, and then I guess you would say Dillian Whyte, yeah.
Jeandra Lebeauf: Fights interested in making in the future for Deontay or is after this fight with Ortiz and then Fury would the next priority be an Andy Ruiz fight depending on the outcome of him and Joshua?
Leonard Ellerbe: Sure. Deontay’s sole objective is to clean out the heavyweight division and you got to respect that. He wants all the smoke, he wants to fight everybody. And I think that the Joshua, Ruiz winner is obviously very appealing, but first things first, he’s got his hands full next Saturday night, because Ortiz. He saw some things in the first fight that he’s looking to take advantage of in the rematch. He’s very confident, he’s in the best shape of his life. I just saw him again, he’s slim and trim and fit. He’s had some great sparring for this camp and he’s ready to go to work.
Jeandra Lebeauf: And now moving on, lastly to Gervonta Davis’s big fight coming up in Atlanta. Great move to move it to Atlanta. There’s a huge population of people who support him, who follow his career and just people who want to have some boxing back there. Why the decision for Atlanta and what do you anticipate for that fight from the fans?
Leonard Ellerbe: Gervonta’s idea. He wanted to bring a big fight back to Atlanta, which is his second home. Atlanta is black Hollywood, let’s call it what it is. It’s a city and in all the surrounding areas you have a number of high profile celebrities, athletes, entertainers, politicians, just working class people. I love that city, love Atlanta. It’s one of the top upcoming cities in the country and we’re really, really excited to bring a huge fight back there on the 28th. It’s going to be a packed, sold out event. It’s going to be a star studded event. I can envision now with that red carpet’s going to look like. It’s going to be a who’s who crowd from all the top entertainers in the world.
Jeandra Lebeauf: Got the big Tyler Perry Studios down now.
Leonard Ellerbe: Yes, yes, yes. And again, the amount of calls that I’ve gotten from the first day that we announced it, it’s just been unbelievable. It reminds me of a Mayweather fight. That’s exactly what it reminds me of. Everybody wants to be in the place to be because it’s the hottest ticket in town.
Jeandra Lebeauf: And lastly, we heard Leo say, after this fight, if he’s successful and Gervonta’s successful this fight, that he’d like to have that fight with Gervonta Davis. Is that the next move and could that land in Atlanta?
Leonard Ellerbe: Wow. You can’t do nothing but respect Leo. Again, he wants to bring excitement to the fans and every fight you see Leo in there’s nothing but excitement. And again, he’s moving to 130 and he’s fighting for the title, and to say that he wants to fight the top dog, I’m impressed. I’m really impressed. And again, I know that there’s a mutual respect between those two. Leo, he presents problems for any fighter because he’s long, he has an excellent jab and everything he works behind the stick. He has a tremendous amount of experience. He’s been in there with a ton of top fighters. He’s had a tremendous amount of success. He’s had a big amateur background, and again, he brings a lot to the table. And if he can get past Flores next Saturday night, that’s a big fight. That’s a big fight, if we can make it.