As local fighter Macro Hall wrapped up his professional debut with a TKO against Demario Brent, the Memphis club anthem “Who Run It” by Three-6 Mafia was played throughout the FedExForum to the delight of the fans who witnessed “The Big Payback.”
Memphis did indeed run the night, as the three local fighters on the card came out victorious, and the other fighters felt much love and support from a city that hasn’t seen Championship Boxing since 2008.
“Memphis is a beautiful city,” Lanell Bellows added. “I established in the press conference how beautiful Memphis was. I’m happy they had me and I was able to win my first title here.”
“Everybody I came across in Memphis was love, man,” Vivian Harris said. “I really do appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.”
Harris (33-12-2) defeated Demarcus “Chop Chop” Corley in the main event by unanimous decision in a defensive and strategic fight between two veterans. In the opening round, this style led to a few boos from the Memphis crowd after they saw five fights that were filled with excitement and entertainment.
After the fights, it was Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr.’s time to run it, as he hosted an afterparty at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. The party was held in a very large ballroom, but only about a quarter of the space was used. As Mayweather sat on the stage with his shiny gold jewelry around his neck, many of the party-goers surrounded him and the stage in an attempt to get a photo with the multimillionaire boxing icon.
Mayweather graciously took photos for a couple of hours with fans before filing out of the party with his security guards at his side.
During the fights, Hall (1-0) opened the night against Brent (1-1) in a bout that was over by the third round. Throughout FedExForum, many people were spotted in black shirts with Hall’s name on it, as they cheered the fighter on to victory.
Once Hall won and “Who Run It” began to play, he held his arms up in victory as his trainers and members of his entourage rushed the ring to celebrate his debut.
The night also was good to fellow Memphis native Grover Young (13-25-3), who defeated a previously unbeaten Javonta Charles (4-1) via TKO in the fourth round.
Five-time World Champion Ava Knight (15-2-4) followed that fight with an impressive victory of her own, winning the ABF Title by unanimous decision over Leesa Daniels (1-3) after a two-year absence from the ring.
West Memphis native Donald Ward showed the Memphis mentality when he found out his cornermen were stuck in Atlanta and wouldn’t make it to Memphis.
“I had to operate with some new cornermen, and I was able to adjust and get the win,” Ward said. “It was very different because the people I had in my corner didn’t understand my style, technique or the game-plan we had already had planned so they had to understand what I was doing by each round.”
Ward defeated Mayweather Promotions’ Charvis Holifield by unanimous decision in an eight round bout. Holifield was projected to win the fight, but in the end, the grit that Memphis has become known for propelled Ward to victory.
After a shoving match at the weigh-in between Lamar Harris (9-16-2) and “KO” Bellows (18-2-2), fans expected an intense matchup in the ring. However, Bellows handily defeated Harris via TKO in the fourth round.
Bellows’ power was on display throughout the fight, but one moment stood out. With Harris against the ropes, Bellows threw a strong right jab that knocked Harris’ mouthpiece out of the ring and onto the floor – right at the feet of spectators.
“I knew I was stronger than him,” Bellows said. “I don’t even know why he pushed me yesterday – like he didn’t know what was going to happen tonight.”
After a great night of boxing in its return to Memphis, Ward wanted to make one thing clear to the people who may have underestimated him and any of the other fighters from Memphis, who ran the night.
“They think everybody from down south is just some opponents,” Ward said. “That’s the message that has been sent out and constantly replayed over and over from previous fighters that have come through Memphis. I’m trying to change all that up.”