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DC Boxing Promoter Cassandra White Works Off the Ropes and Goes the Distance with RSR

Exclusive Interview by “Bad” Brad Berkwitt
Photos by Eric Fleming

“I really care about the boxers and I am not here to make money off of them because I have a business already that does well.”-Cassandra White 

Throughout my travels of covering boxing now for many years around the world, I have encountered many diverse characters. From the Korean bosses of boxing, to the cigar chomping promoters whose stained coffee shirts were only matched by the managers of fighters who wanted to work a deal for their fighter in one of our interviews.  Well, in December of 2008, I met yet another character in the world of boxing, but this person didn’t fit the mold.  She had on what had to be six inch heels, had a walk and a talk that clearly showed she was no pushover, and being in a male dominated sport like boxing, a lady must have those attributes.

In fact, we hit it off out the gate, posed for the camera and she threw me a bag of money that I guarded like a New Orleans Saints Defensive Lineman did during the Super Bowl of their Quarterback Drew Brees when she took her bows in the center ring after a great night of boxing at the Burr Gymnasium located on the campus of Howard University.

Yes, the money was returned. What do I look like here, John Dillinger?  That lady in those high heels is none other than DC Boxing Promoter Cassandra White, CEO of Babie Girl Productions. White, a DC native and business owner also in the District of Columbia is continuing her quest to be at the dance with the big boys of boxing by putting on regular boxing cards in the Washington, DC area.  She realizes that you must put on strong competitive fights on a consistent basis to build up your fan base of boxing fans that in turn, will come out and pay their hard earned cash to watch one of her cards.

On top of all the boxing stuff, White is also the Owner and President of Safe Haven, INC., a transportation company located in the District of Columbia.  If her success in the private sector is any indication, then in years to come, her success in the local boxing scene seems to be destined.

BB:  First off, let’s update the RSR readers on your upcoming fight card that takes place on April 2nd at the DC Convention Center.

The main event is Henry “Sugar Poo” Buchanan versus Clarence “Sonny Boy” Taylor who has been in with many of the top fighters in the world today. The co main event will be heavyweight Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell who is undefeated. Thomas Williams will be making his professional debut in the super middleweight division and Tony Jeter will be fighting as well.  Rounding out the card will be two female fights that should really be exciting to watch.  

Tickets can be purchased at Capitol Hill Sporting Goods & Apparel located at 727 8th Street SE (Across from the US Marine Barracks) or by calling them at: (202) 546-8078.

Or you can contact Cassandra at her Babie Girl Productions office at:  (202) 365-5021.

Finally, you can also call (202) 582-0007 between the hours of 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM to reserve tickets…

BB: Growing up in such a diverse city as Washington, DC, what are some of your memories from those early years?

I had a great childhood growing up in the Washington, DC, and at an early age, I had an entrepreneurial spirit. At the age of 12, I would go to the neighbor’s houses and cut grass or clean their houses to make money. We really had a great family structure where my mother raised five kids and we were able to travel which was a lot of fun.

BB:  Now that you are a business owner in that same city you grew up in, do you think it has moved forward and if so, how?

I think it definitely has moved forward as a city. I was incorporated in 1993 and it was hard then because I didn’t have any female role models that were already in business.  As the years progressed, I saw a lot of females become business owners in DC and we were able to talk about various things.  The city has really become more acceptable to women as well when it comes to getting your business license. 

BB:  Tell the readers about your company Save Haven, INC., located in the District of Columbia.

Actually when I first started in business, I was going to run Homeless Shelters and that is how I got the name Safe Haven for the business. In my world, that  was what you were supposed to do is provide a homeless shelter, but what I found out, was you need to have all of these other support services which then that makes the process very political.    One day, I was watching a show on television that said what are three most important businesses out there?  It said medical, computer and transportation.  I picked the latter because I thought it would be cheaper.

At that time, I had two old cars: a Chevrolet Camaro and a Chrysler Le Baron. So what I would do is transport senior citizens to various places in the community.  I finally got to meet a very good friend who sadly, passed away in 2000.  His name was MR Phillips and he co-signed for me to get my first van which was handicapped accessible. I sold those two cars and put that money toward the purchase of the van.  Back then, that was my mode of transportation whether I was taking people around or going to club, you saw my big van and on the side, it said Safe Haven, INC. So, one van led into two and then three.  My goal was always to have about 8 – 10 vehicles and I achieved that.

BB:  What year did you decide to get into promoting boxing matches and what drew you to doing it?

I got into back in 2005 when I put on an amateur show. What happened with that is one of my friends I grew up is a boxing trainer and his gym wanted to do an amateur show. At the time, I had a lot that I was renting from the DC Government that was something like 26,000 square feet.  So we collectively came up with the idea to do an outside amateur show, but when the money came up, they didn’t have any. We had already started out so I decided to come out of my pocket to pay for the event. 

So some of the fighters on that card turned professional and said to me “why don’t you put on professional shows”?  So that is pretty much how I got into being a boxing promoter.

BB:  Now that you have done it for five years, what do you feel was the hardest lesson to learn that eventually you felt you overcame?

Well, to be honest, I don’t think I really have overcame it, but it would be trusting people in this boxing business.  My heart is very big and it is extremely difficult to deal with people at times who say one thing, but do another. I have a tendency to always believe in what someone says, but it turns out that it actually doesn’t happen that way.

That is the major obstacle I feel that I am still facing today.

BB:  What idea out of the box did you have that really worked in promoting and to this day, you still use in your promotions?

I really care about the boxers and I am not here to make money off of them because I have a business already that does well.  My goal is to really bring boxing back in this area to the point where fans really respect it again.

BB: I commend you for saying you want to look out for the fighters, but playing Devil’s Advocate, we have heard Oscar De La Hoya, Don King and Bob Arum say the same thing over the years, but then the complete opposite seems to happen.  Tell the readers why Babie Girl Productions is going to be different to not just talk the talk, but to walk the walk.
I am going to keep my shows small and of course if I could get an investor, that would be great, but that will still not dictate how my shows are going to go.  Yes, of course I don’t want to lose my money, but as I had said earlier, I own a business so I can make a little profit and be content in the boxing business.  My goal when I started was to always have three World Champions that came out of DC and started on my fight cards.  It was not to make a fortune doing this, so I feel that is what keeps me grounded. 

BB: When did you first start following the sport of boxing?

In the days of Muhammad Ali. I can remember we would be playing outside and people in the neighborhood would have their TV’s on where you could hear Ali’s fights.

BB:  Who are your top three fighters of all-time and why?

Muhammad Ali because he had such a great mouth and he could back it up in the ring.  Sugar Ray Leonard because I loved his style of fighting and of course, he was a hometown favorite.  Finally, Hector “Macho” Camacho…I enjoyed his antics in the ring and I actually had a chance to meet him one time in Puerto Rico and I just love him.

BB:  If you had to pick one fighter since the day you started following boxing, who do you feel moved the sport ahead the most and why?

I think more recently it would be Floyd Mayweather, JR., because he put that interest back in boxing that had been gone for a while.

BB:  What is your prediction for Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley?

PBF by Unanimous Decision.

BB:  Is there one boxing match in all your years of following the sport that you would say that was the single most exciting fight  I have ever seen?

The “Thrilla in Manilla” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier back in 1975.  That was such a hard fight for both of them and during the match, they gave everything they had in that ring.  

BB: Who are some of the fighters you follow today?

I really like Paul Williams and will pay the PPV tag to see him fight.  He is very focused and I have actually seen him train in the area. Another would be Henry “Sugar Poo” Buchanan who I think people have underestimated. 

BB: Do you feel the sport of boxing has moved ahead or backwards since you first started following it?

It has moved backwards, but hopefully there are some out there in the boxing world who are making changes to ensure we don’t continue down that road.

BB: What is your favorite boxing movie of all-time and why?

The Black and White 1953 movie “The Joe Louis Story” that starred Coley Wallace as Joe Louis.  It showed the greatness of the man and what he endured in his life to become a World Champion.

BB:  Who is your favorite Boxing Commentator?

(Cassandra broke into a Howard Cosell voice when answering) and of course picked the legendary Cosell as her favorite commentator of all time. 

BB: If you could change one thing in boxing today, what would you change and why?

I would change the way the boxing industry dictates that a perfect record for a fighter is almost a must.   That is bogus and they should let these fighters go out there and show their craft in the ring. If they lose a match or two, that doesn’t mean that may not still go on to be a World Champion some day.

BB: Do you favor a mandatory retirement fund for all boxers and if so, how would you like to see it accomplished?

Yes! I think what Promoters should do is when they have these fighters on their card, they should take out a portion of their purse and have it go into a fund to help them when their careers are over.  You see too many fighters that once their career is over, are flat broke.

BB:  If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one CD and one movie, what you select?

(Big Laugh)  The movie would be Million Dollar Baby which I love. The CD is a little tougher pick, but I would go with any of Whitney Houston’s early CD’s.

BB:  Finally, what is the saying you live your life by?

“Always treat others as you would want to be treated.”

Is there anything you would like to add to our interview:

I hope the VA, DC and MD boxing community comes out for the card on April 2nd at the DC Convention Center and please keep looking out for the local boxers from our area.

(Interviewers Note: A special thanks to an old associate of mine Gene Molovinsky for letting us use his Keystone Boxing Gym located in Marlow Heights Plaza/Temple Hills, MD.)

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