It has only been six months since the end of George Zimmerman’s trial, a national controversy that often hinged on issues of race. Now, the 30-year old actually wants to challenge someone toe-to-toe in the boxing ring in an attempt to raise money for charity. His promoter has said that he is ready to take on pretty much anyone, including black opponents.
Zimmerman is a keen boxer who remained in training during and after his trial. He has recently signed up with Damon Feldman, a promoter who specializes in celebrity bouts. Together, the pair have cooked up a plan to put Zimmerman in a celebrity fight to raise money for a charity of Zimmerman’s choice. The fight is provisionally pencilled in for March 1.
The celebrity opponent is yet to be unconfirmed and Zimmerman has said that he will consider all applications to fight him. Feldman confirmed that race will not be an issue in selecting an opponent and they will pick the person with the highest profile. There is even an email address for applicants.
One black celebrity has already responded to the challenge. West Coast rapper The Game, who himself has a criminal record for a felony weapons charge, is ready to fight. Speaking to TMZ, he said he would battle George Zimmerman. He added that if he was selected as the opponent, he would be boxing for the memory of Trayvon Martin.
George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder in a Florida court last September having shot and killed an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin. The trial captured the attention of the U.S. in a way that hadn’t been seen since the O.J. Simpson verdict, with the controversy even embroiling President Obama himself. One of the biggest issues in the case was race and much of the African-American community regard the verdict as an egregious miscarriage of justice.
The heightened feelings still surrounding Zimmerman mean that he cannot even name the charity who would benefit from the match. He himself admits that the negative publicity may cause more harm than good to the charity, and has left it up to them to decide whether or not to go public. The only detail confirmed about the charity is that they work in the field of animal rescue.
Despite the controversial trial and the subsequent unrelated charges of domestic abuse, Zimmerman has not faded from the public eye in the past few months. Recently he was back in the news when he attempted to pursue a career as an artist. One of his works sold for over $100,000 on eBay.
The fight, if it goes ahead, will take place just days after the second anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death. The University of Florida will be hosting a series of events to mark the date, with members of the law and sociology faculties discussing the long-term aftermath of the verdict.
George Zimmerman seems to be approaching this event in a light-hearted way and is ready to fight to raise money for his favorite charity. But with tensions still running so high, this contest may end up being more than a charity bout, especially if his opponent is black.
By Bernard O’Leary