UPDATE: Under pressure from the growing opposition to the George Zimmerman/DMX boxing match, fight promoter Damon Feldman has indicated that Zimmerman will not appear at the Philadelphia press conference next week.
Trayvon Martin would have been 19 on Wednesday, had he not been shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Florida. And so when news spread on Wednesday that Philadelphia-based Celebrity Boxing promoter Damon Feldman (below) had announced a George Zimmerman vs. DMX bout, well, a lot of people started crying foul. (There's also a White House petition to stop the fight). I got Feldman on the phone to talk about it.
When and where is the George Zimmerman/DMX fight?
It's going to be on March 15th. I can't say where until the press conference in Philadelphia next week. It's most likely going to be on the West Coast and will only be viewable on pay-per-view via the Internet.
You announced this today, on Trayvon Martin's birthday.
Actually, I announced it last night on TMZ.
OK, so you announced it on the eve of Trayvon Martin's birthday, and people are hearing about it today. And a lot of them are upset.
You know what, man, I didn't even look. You know I'm a good-hearted guy. I didn't know when his birthday was. I just wanted to get the news out there.
Do you think an apology is in order?
It's a good question. I had no idea that it was Trayvon Martin's birthday. The event has nothing to do with that. I don't want this fight to be about that. I would never do something like that. I'm not like that. And, I, well, I don't think anybody knows my birthday. I didn't know it was Trayvon's birthday, just like no one knows my birthday. If I had known, I would have waited.
Really? You would have waited had you known?
So do you want to issue an apology?
Yes, but I need it to go national. I'm sorry if I hurt anybody's feelings. If I would have known… I just had no clue.
OK, but why align yourself with Zimmerman at all?
The thing is, it was thrown into my hands, and I basically just take it as it comes. I wasn't looking basically for anything other than putting Celebrity Boxing back out there. My events are always surrounded by controversy. That's what Celebrity Boxing is about. I'm in business. This is all just business for me. I don't know Zimmerman other than talking to him seven times.
What's he like?
I don't really know the man.
But you've spoken to him 7 times. You must have some sense of him.
He's supposed to be coming to Philly next week for the press conference. He's just "hello" and "goodbye." He seems like a real calm guy. He was alright to me. I don't like him, and I don't hate him. And hey, if he gets beat up, I gave the country justice.
[Damon Feldman photo: AP, Matt Rourke]
Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.