Rapper DMX, George Zimmerman set for celebrity punch-up

Wed Feb 5, 2014 7:42pm EST
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By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Rapper DMX beat out over 15,000 other applicants for a chance to throw a punch at former Florida neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in a celebrity boxing match, according to entertainment news website TMZ.

The potential match on March 1, what would have been Trayvon Martin's 19th birthday, could pit Zimmerman, who was found not guilty in the 2012 shooting death of the unarmed black teenager, against the trash-talking musician with a history of arrests, most of them drug or driving offenses.

Earl Simmons, 43, better known as DMX, won the 2000 American Music Awards vote for best rap/hip-hop artist. He has also acted in several films and was the subject of a 2006 television reality show.

Zimmerman, 30, comes to the ring with some experience. At his trial, testimony revealed that he trained as a boxer in the year before the shooting to lose weight and get in shape.

Boxing promoter Damon Feldman is negotiating the celebrity three-round bout.

Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, in a keynote address to the National Action Network on Wednesday, cautioned against glorifying Zimmerman.

"We must be very careful not to glorify or in any way sidestep the implications of making someone whose only claim to fame was killing an unarmed young man named Trayvon Martin into a cultural celebrity or hero," said Sharpton.

"He has the right to pursue whatever he wants in life, yet we also have the obligation to be discerning about who we lift and to what level," Sharpton said.   Continued...

George Zimmerman listens to the judge during his first-appearance hearing in Sanford, Florida November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Pool