Update on Sun., Feb. 16: Philly.com reported that George Zimmerman would've continued on with his fight without celebrity boxing promoter Damon Feldman. Instead Alkiviades "Alki" David originally planned the fight from an undisclosed location with another opponent for Zimmerman. However, after the Trayvon Martin Foundation refused to take any charity funds from the fight, David canceled the second fight and confirmed via Twitter on Feb. 11.
Update on Sat., Feb. 8*: Rolling Stone reports that the Zimmerman and DMX fight has been canceled.
According to the RS report, "I looked into the eyes of my son and daughter today and couldn't imagine someone killing them and getting off scot-free," said promoter Damon Feldman. "It just really hurt. It was a tough decision because I could have made two million dollars here, but at least I have my dignity."
However, PhillyMag is a bit more skeptical of the cancellation based on the promoter's conscience. Their take? Feldman said, "I just got tired of all the hassle and the death threats."
WhiteHouse.gov's We the People section also had a petition out against the fight.
* The information below was originally published on Feb. 5 by Shamontiel at HubPages.
Is charity event noble cause or attention for Zimmerman?
The Twitter trending topics on Wed., Feb. 5, vary: "Happy Birthday Trayvon Martin," "#TrayvonMartin," "#19forTrayvon" and "#RIPTrayvon." But what's getting a bigger buzz other than remembering the 19th birthday of the teen who was fatally shot on Sun., Feb. 26 2012, is the celebrity boxing match between his murderer George Zimmerman and rapper DMX.
Zimmerman was found innocent of the murder trial on Sat., July 13, 2013, after a jury was given the option of guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of manslaughter or not guilty. However, after being found not guilty, Zimmerman has stayed in the limelight for everything from two domestic disputes (one with his soon-to-be-ex-wife, the other with his girlfriend), a speeding violation and now this boxing match. Rick Wilson, the photographer of State Attorney Angela Corey, even has a bone to pick with him for painting an image of the prosecuting attorney. The winning bid for the painting was $100,099.99 on Ebay, but it's not clear whether Zimmerman received that amount.
What has been made clear is the fight on March 1 is for charity, not for Zimmerman's profit, although there is still skepticism.
Three rappers who were talked about for possible opponents were The Game, DMX and Kanye West. Two of the three have publicly confirmed that they wanted to fight Zimmerman.
Earl "DMX" Simmons, who is no stranger to the legal system but usually because of driving on a suspended license, was one of the rappers who answered the call to be an opponent in a celebrity boxing match. While some feel this is just another way for Zimmerman to keep his face out there and to be untouchable, others are taking this fight as a chance to even the score.
Jayceon "The Game" Taylor, who has a tattoo of Martin on his left leg, told TMZ, "Anybody with the opportunity, and if you could do it, you know, and it was legal and there were no repercussions for knocking Zimmerman out, why not?"
Although the fight is for charity, over 15,000 e-mail requests to be Zimmerman's opponent are more likely a personal vendetta. The case has long been categorized as an attack against a young, black teenager who was doing nothing but walking through his father's neighborhood with Skittles and an iced tea. He was accused by Zimmerman, during a 911 dispatch call, of looking like he was "up to no good" for wearing a hoodie.
Anger boiled up at the not guilty verdict in 2013, and the fight on March 1 will be an opportunity for Martin defenders to live through DMX. But will this be in the same spirit of someone like boxer Joe Louis?
Zimmerman, a Hispanic male, has been accused repeatedly of racism. Race was also a hot topic during Louis' fighting days. Even in a recent Chicago play, "Seven Guitars," Louis' name was brought back up for his battle against a white contender.
According to ESPN, Joe Louis was the first African-American to achieve hero worship via boxing that was previously only associated with whites. Another boxer, Jack Johnson, was the first African-American heavyweight champ, but he did not command the same popularity as "The Brown Bomber," who fought against Germany's Max Schmeling.
In the 1930s when the fight happened, numbers racketeer John Roxborough made Louis agree to seven commandments. They were:
- He was never to have his picture taken with a white woman.
- He was never to go to a nightclub alone.
- There would be no soft fights.
- There would be no fixed fights.
- He was never to gloat over a fallen opponent
- He was to keep a "dead pan" in front of the cameras.
- He was to live and fight clean.
Of course in today's world of boxing, the same rules do not apply and there are countless African-American boxers fighting other opponents of various races.
The World Boxing Council crowned Floyd Mayweather (whose current record is 45 wins, 0 losses) the "Supreme Champion."
Mayweather's reputation wasn't lost on comedians like Ian Karmel who tweeted, "They should send Floyd Mayweather to the ring and tell George Zimmerman it's DMX. He won't know the difference."
Mike Tyson is another well-known African-American boxer with 50 wins, 44 knockouts and six losses (five of which were by knockout), according to BoxRec.
According to The Game's Twitter account, Zimmerman wanted to fight someone a little closer to his size: "RT @Airborne_23: @thegame so is George Zimmerman gonna fight you or nah? - nah he scared !!! Said DMX more his size lol"
During the trial Zimmerman, who is 5'8, gained over 100 pounds (approximately 300 pounds total) but while training has lost some of that weight. At the time of the dispute between he and Martin, he weighed 194 pounds. Martin's build, according to a Medical Examiner's report, was 5'11 and 158 pounds.
The Game is 6'4. DMX, like Martin, is 5'11.
Obviously the two rappers don't have the same fighting reputation or record of 5'8 Mayweather or 5'10 Tyson. It is currently unknown and unlikely that either boxing champion suggested getting in the ring with Zimmerman regardless of how many tweets go out about it. Mayweather's timeline is flooded with people suggesting he replace DMX.
But while several boxers choose fights for professional reasons, and The Game and DMX are choosing to fight for emotional reasons, some people are wondering what is the benefit? With Martin not being here to see who defended him after he was killed, should there be more energy put into Florida's current political system and Stand Your Ground laws or this fight?
Organizations, such as The Dream Defenders, pressured Speaker of the House Will Weatherford to host hearings against the Stand Your Ground laws after a sit-in of 31 days at the capital building of Gov. Rick Scott’s office.
With Zimmerman continuing to escape the legal system and Stand Your Ground laws continuing to hold up in Florida, is this legal boxing match between Zimmerman and the rapper the final bout that'll help Martin supporters finally be at ease?
Or, at the end of the day does it still come down to the fact that on Feb. 5, Martin isn't here to celebrate turning 19?
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