For the last 10 or so years, there’s been one name that has dominated both boxing and at times, general sports headlines–that name is Floyd Mayweather Jr.
It’s no secret that “Money” Mayweather has changed the game of boxing and built a successful and lucrative empire that he has dubbed, “The Money Team.” Whether you’re a fan of Mayweather the boxer is subjective, but what is undeniable is Mayweather’s proven business sense.
These days, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing the pugilist surrounded by gorgeous women and fancy toys, but what sometimes flies under the radar are the group of savvy entrepreneurs that have been tasked with growing the fighters company–Mayweather Promotions.
In comes DeJuan Blake.
Blake was born in White Plains, NY. A cousin to Floyd Mayweather, Blake was raised in the Bronx before making his eventual jump to Las Vegas to join the then up-and-coming superstar, “Pretty Boy” Floyd.
“I remember coming to Vegas just to vacation,” said Blake. “I think it was for Floyd’s fight with Genaro Hernandez. Then I came down for the [Jose Luis] Castillo fight.” It was around this time that Blake had a realization that he wanted to do more with his life. “I was more just tired of being in the city and wanted to change up my life and do different things. Floyd gave me an opportunity to work with him,” said Blake.
Make no mistake, Blake never presumed to think it would be an easy ride. Blake, along with the other members of The Money Team, live their lives by their favorite motto. A motto that has now become somewhat of a family crest, hard work and dedication. “When I got started, I was doing small knickknack things. Little bullshit-ass errands,” said Blake. “As time went on, and Floyd got bigger and bigger, I started thinking, what can I do to make some money?” It was around this time that Blake recalls seeing a man on a consistent basis.
At first Blake couldn’t place the significance of the gentleman. “I recall being on a plane going city to city for the fight Floyd had with [Oscar] De La Hoya. I kept thinking, who is this guy on the plane with us that keeps talking at the podium before every conference?” That gentleman was former Florida sports broadcaster, turned MGM executive, Bob Halloran. “He [Bob] was the one who said, DeJuan I think it would be a good idea for you to start a management company and manage boxers,” said Blake.
“Being that your cousin has a promotional company, it would be good for you to go out and find your boxers and give them opportunities they would otherwise never get,” said Blake.
This was the push Blake needed to jumpstart his career in the boxing game. Since then, Blake has created his own company named, Affiliation Management and now manages and advises some of the top prospects under The Money Team umbrella.
It’s not all glitz and glamour working with top athletes. Blake openly admits that he faced roadblocks on the way.
“I’m young now and when I got started I was super young and may have not known the boxing game all that well. I learned that you can’t just put your word on the line for anyone. I didn’t know what people’s motives could’ve been. Anyone can come and get with Floyd, but are they willing to stay with me as a manager?”
Blake credits the development of his business insight to his humble beginnings. When first arriving to Vegas, Blake would help out in Mayweather’s corner. Whether it meant preparing buckets, grabbing water, or preparing things for training camps.
What separates Blake is his attention to detail. While working the corner or handling minimal tasks, Blake took it upon himself to make his presence felt. “I just started watching. From the time at the Top Rank Gym to being at Floyd’s gym now, I just built relationships with the different executives, managers, or anyone who was older and experienced that could give me advice,” said Blake.
Today, Blake is fortunate enough to pick up the phone and seek council from a multitude of resources.
Blake now possesses over 15 years of experience in the industry and boast some of the top contenders signed to his management team. Some of those fighters include former world champion Mickey Bey, amateur standout Dylan Price, undefeated Cruiserweight Andrew Tabiti, and top female prospect Savannah Marshall to name a few.
Tabiti and Marshall will have an opportunity to showcase their skills to the masses on the undercard portion of the mega-event of Floud Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor taking place August 26.
The stable of talent continues to grow for both The Money Team, as well as for Blake’s Affiliation Management. “Honestly, every person I sign, I feel could be really special,” said Blake. “I don’t just sign anyone. It’s not always just about the skill. Sometimes it’s about how you handle yourself and doing things the right way. We won’t know how good someone is until shit hits the fan.”
In any regard, Blake has found his niche in the boxing world and looks to continue to grow his skillset moving forward. “My long term goal is to one day be able to branch out into other sports markets. Maybe even the acting world. I don’t want to just limit myself to one thing,” said Blake.
Header photo by Simon Bruty for Sports Illustrated
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