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Floyd Mayweather and Leonard Ellerbe have been busy signing teenage boxers to their company.
Mayweather Promotions signed five young American fighters in recent weeks.
Ellerbe told us about the Las Vegas-based company's USP, and why they're investing in the future.
Bugatti supercars worth millions of dollars decorate the parking lot of a large, sun-kissed building in the Chinatown district of Las Vegas - a city of sin, neon lights, and games of chance.
Inside the Mayweather Boxing Club, though, nothing is left to luck.
Coaches with years of experience guide young fighters who want to crack the combat sports world by drilling punch routines until it becomes an old habit.
Floyd Mayweather spends hours there every day.
During his years as the planet's pound-for-pound No.1 boxer, he'd wail hook shots into heavy bags for minutes on end and then throw pitty-patter shots while talking to the nearest camera so he could promote a fight. Floyd never met a lens he didn't love.
"Hard work, dedication!" he'd scream as millions of fans around the world watched his every move.
At 44 years old, Mayweather still keeps himself fighting fit. The difference is that now he is overseeing the hard work inside his club instead of participating.
Mayweather and his business partner Leonard Ellerbe, the Mayweather Promotions CEO, have been getting increasingly excited about the talented teenagers who keep showing up at their front doors.
These kids started by idolizing Mayweather. They asked for his signature, and they posed for photographs as he vehemently stuck to a camp structure ahead of the fight game's best-selling bouts.
Then, with skills they'd learned back in their home states, they'd return to Nevada as older teenagers wanting to impress Mayweather, who was retiring from competition and focusing on his promotional vehicle and boxing gym.
They'd hit the pads and spar some of the club's top fighters as they wanted to show they were dedicating themselves to boxing just like Floyd had through decades of top-tier combat.
Now they're signing contracts that have the potential to change their lives forever.
In recent weeks, Mayweather Promotions signed five young guns:
David Lopez: A 17-year-old from Oakland in California.
Dorian Khan Jr.: An 18-year-old from Buckeye in Arizona.
Jalil Hackett: An 18-year-old from Washington, D.C.
Micky Scala: An 18-year-old from Mesa in Arizona.
Adrian Benton: A 21-year-old from Cincinnati in Ohio.
Investing in the future of Mayweather Promotions excites Ellerbe
Ellerbe told Insider what caught his attention with each new addition to his roster.
This is what Ellerbe said about Lopez:
I watched him closely and was impressed. It's one thing watching him in amateur competitions - he was the No.1 in the US in 2015 and 2016 - but when you put a young fighter in there with another fighter who is on the rise, you can see skills over a number of rounds, and what the talent is like. He's a tremendous talent with good power, great speed, and makes adjustments on the fly.
Regarding Khan Jr., Ellerbe said:
Dorian Khan is one of those who has been around us for years. He's got blinding speed, great power, and is tall for the weight. He'll develop into an exciting young fighter. Gervonta 'Tank' Davis watched Dorian box and he came over to me and said, 'L, you better sign that kid … he can fight, he can grow!' And I said, 'He's going to be with us, don't you worry.'
And on Jalil Hackett, Ellerbe said:
Jalil Hackett is from my hometown so I know him really, really well. I know talent when I see it. The eyes don't lie and he'll be something special. I've seen him box Tank for a couple of camps. He's boxed a number of top fighters out there, and they all say the same thing [about how good he is]. Tank's seen Jalil up close for a couple camps. You know Tank doesn't want easy work which is why he kept in camp because Jalil kept pushing him - even at 16! That just shows you the level he's at."
This is what Ellerbe said about Benton:
"All these guys have won multiple titles at junior or national levels, and Adrien Benton has had more than 300 amateur fights. Seeing him box a couple of our fighters in our stable I could see he has great hand speed, power … the whole nine. He also talks a lot of trash and I love fighters who talk a lot of trash. Some fighters are quiet, and I respect that, but the guys who talk trash and can back it up? Ooooh, man, I love that!"
On Micky Scala, Ellerbe said:
"Micky Scala is a young man who can fight his behind off. He's tall, rangy, and with a skill set so good he can do it all. He's in the prime weight class of 147-pounds and 154-pounds, and that's where a lot of the action is."
How it feels to change the lives of five young fighters
The official website of Mayweather Promotions describes itself as the past, present, and future of boxing.
Mayweather - one of the finest fighters from the recent past - has a hands-on role with his prizefighters from the present like Gervonta Davis, Richardson Hitchins, and Rolly Romero.
He is also a magnetic recruiting tool as boxing's budding stars - Lopez, Khan Jr., Hackett, Scala, and Benton - are drawn to his legend and dream of being handled like Tank, a two-weight world champion at 26 with his best years ahead of him.
"All of these young fighters … what I love about them is that they're very confident," Ellerbe told Insider.
Ellerbe said each of his athletes has personal goals, but they are all determined to reach the top of their weight class or weight classes.
This provides him with "a great problem to have as a promoter" as he looks to book them in the right bouts at the right times en route to a championship opportunity while mindful of the faster pace the fighter may want to have.
Ellerbe gets so animated when he's talking about novice talent that it's easy to ask just how much job satisfaction he gets offering a young man a life-changing contract.
"Man, it's so exciting for me," he said. "These five guys … they're all super young. It's a tremendous feeling as a promoter to have this young talent. But the great thing about it is these guys can actually fight.
"We've had a chance to see these guys in front of some of my other fighters in the gym, with Floyd sitting in the corner just watching them and correcting them.
"These are really exciting times for our company, and we have a bright future with all this talent that I just look at and think, 'Wow. We've got a starting five right there.'"
Young fighters are drawn to Floyd Mayweather
Ellerbe previously told Insider that one of the biggest traits he looks for when it comes to talent identification is character.
He refined this when we spoke to him last week, adding that the question really is finding out why they want to specifically sign a deal with Mayweather Promotions.
"All of them said the same thing," according to Ellerbe. "They want to be in with the best. And Floyd, like I keep saying, is the face of the company.
"He's also hands-on with these fighters. So just think about that because there's nothing like it. Imagine you're a young basketball player, and you have a chance to be nurtured by Michael Jordan or LeBron James. That's everything."
In a statement sent to Insider, Hackett, one of Ellerbe and Mayweather's young proteges, said he wanted to sign with "someone who looks like me."
The welterweight added: "It was important to me that I signed with a Black-owned company, and I'm with the best one, which is Mayweather Promotions."
His father, Bernard Hackett, said: "I'm happy he's with a Black-owned company who understands what he will encounter as a Black athlete both in and out the ring."
Insider asked Ellerbe what Hackett will encounter and how he, as the CEO, can help.
"Obviously, being African American, we've experienced different things that some other races haven't," said Ellerbe.
"I don't need to go into detail, but we see what's going on in the world today. It's been highlighted by police brutality and all the racism. These are problems that have been going on for quite some time.
"But in his particular case, being a young African American growing up in Washington, D.C. and seeing the crime rate, I know first-hand as I came from the same background.
"So to be able to persevere through those challenging times and experience those things as a young man, he's looked up to guys like Floyd, myself, and [boxing manager] Al [Haymon].
"They see we've had a lot of success in this sport, especially with Floyd, who we use as the example - the face. He's had an impact on these young men's lives since they were kids.
"They see he can make it out of that and that they have the opportunity to do the same thing while developing under the best to ever do it. What young fighter wouldn't want that?
"I'm really proud of Floyd as he helps young fighters, and he wants to see them one day surpass him. But that's a tall task, let me tell you!
"It's just a great feeling to know you can have an impact on a young man's life. This is for all of our fighters who look up to him and especially to Jalil and his dad, who respect Mayweather Promotions, respect us, and trust us to guide their careers.
"It means a lot that we're making an impact. This is more than just business to me and to Floyd. These are relationships we'll have for the rest of our lives."
Read the original article on Insider