A Who’s Who of the boxing world will be coming to Muskogee this weekend.
The Larry Love University Health and Fitness Expo fundraiser is scheduled for Friday through Sunday at the Muskogee Civic Center. Money raised from the three-day event will be going to an online engineering and business school and for a school to be located in Muskogee.
Larry Love of Tulsa, the school president, is organizing the event, which will be open to the public.
“My friend (Pam Borens) is a retired teacher who lives here in Muskogee. She does a lot with kids, and I met her when I was setting up the school here,” he said. “She said, ‘Could you help me do something for the kids?’ She told they’ve never had anything this big here.”
Love talked to his friend, “Lightning” Lonnie Smith, a former welterweight champion, who made telephone calls. Smith has received verbal commitments from former world champion boxers including Larry Holmes, Lamon Brewster, James “Bonecrusher” Smith, Riddick Bowe, Ray Mercer, Chris Byrd, Mike Weaver and Sean O’Grady.
“When Mr. Love first told me about this, I didn’t know where Muskogee was, and I had to look on a map to where we were coming,” Smith said. “I want everyone to come out and support it because I think it will be somewhat historical to be a part of this.”
Justin O’Neal, tourism director at the Greater Muskogee Chamber of Commerce, said his office is helping sponsor the event.
“We think it’s a great event, and we hope to to have a long relationship with Larry Love University,” O’Neal said.
The schedule for the event includes health and wellness workshops, aerobics classes, dance classes and martial arts demonstrations. It starts at noon each day.
Sunday’s activities include a commencement ceremony and the awarding of Men and Women of God Awards, presented to people in the community. Some of the honorees include Mayor Janey Cagle-Boydston and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center Director Derrick Reed.
General admission to the expo will cost $20, and reserved seating will cost $50. VIP Dinner tickets will cost $100, and a private dinner table will cost $1,000, according to the website, larryloveuniversity.org. Live entertainment also will be provided.
“We’ve set up a home resource learning center in the school to teach the kids,” Love said. “We’re looking at that building (the old Connors State College) to put the school there.”