Some Are Born With It
Mercedes Vazquez Simmons, born to Puerto Rican parents, grew up watching boxing in a culture that treated it as a family event. Her passion for the sport grew as her family cheered for many boxers, including Hector "Macho" Comacho and Robert Duran. Today, Mercedes is the first licensed Latino female boxing promoter.
As recently as 2012, Rochester's boxing scene had deteriorated and was used as an "opponent" pool for New York City fights. Mercedes opened "Pretty Girl Productions LLC with the goal to give Rochester quality Las Vegas-style events and to revitalize boxing in Western New York by demonstrating that the sport is very much alive and enjoyed by diverse groups of fans.
Mercedes first Pretty Girl Promotions event, at Salhen Stadium in Rochester was an historic event, drawing one of the largest, most diverse crowds in Rochester boxing history. She followed up with the Willie Monroe fight card at a sold out event at The Main Street Armory.
Through Pretty Girl Promotions, Mercedes builds up her community. Her events hire local services and uses local resources with an estimated economic benefit of $100,000 annually. She also provides employment opportunities for veterans, formerly incarcerated persons, and retired athletes.
Mercedes sits on numerous community-based board, and introduces inner city children to boxing as a form of empowerment and discipline. She also works with the elderly, victims of domestic violence and immigrants. In all of her interactions, Mercedes goal is always to help individuals reach their full potential.