It's human nature. People are drawn to those whose origins they identify with.
So early Sunday morning, when Golden Boy Promotions executive Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins talked about making Brooklyn's newly opened Barclays Center a "hub" for African-American fighters, it wasn't about race, just business.
Although the main event of Brooklyn's first championship boxing card in 81 years featured Philadelphia's Danny Garcia, who is of Puerto Rican decent, against Erik Morales, of Mexico, Hopkins noticed that there was a lot of buzz from the crowd of more than 11,000 for undercard bouts, featuring African-American fighters Peter Quillin, Daniel Jacobs and Devon Alexander.
"This is not meant to be a racial statement," Hopkins said, "but here's what I'm saying: We're in Brooklyn. There are a lot of us [African-Americans] here. We had a lot of support here tonight. We can keep building on that."
Whether you like Hopkins or not, there is no denying that in his nearly quarter century in the fight game, he has acquired a great deal of knowledge about how the industry works.
The ethnic angle to promoting fight cards is a huge part of the business, and, as long as things don't get over the top - which has certainly happened - it is considered OK.
It's a dicey road to walk, filled with pitfalls if talked about in the wrong way. Still, certain fighters often are showcased in certain areas of the United States specifically because there is a large ethnic population there that will relate to that heritage.
Fighters of Mexican heritage are big draws in California and Texas. New York, with its large Puerto Rican community, has traditionally had big crowds at Madison Square Garden for fighters of Puerto Rican heritage.
You have to recognize the audience in boxing.
Throw out Las Vegas, because the city itself, with its casinos and entertainment scene, makes the ethnic angle moot - as long as the headliner has appeal.
Most fight cards are put together based on regional appeal. Any card outside of Las Vegas is guaranteed to feature a heavy dose of local fighters.
Saturday's card featured six fighters from New York.
Hopkins said he sees no reason why Brooklyn, which is accessible to the large African-American communities in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, cannot be built into a home for top-caliber African-American fighters.
"The numbers at the gate don't lie," he said of the African-American boxing audience. "The numbers on pay-per-view don't lie.
"The black fighter needs to be promoted, the ones that deserve to be promoted, the ones who've paid that price to succeed should be promoted."
Although not officially retired, Hopkins is spending more of his energy as a managing partner with Golden Boy, the promotional company started by future Hall of Fame boxer Oscar De La Hoya in 2002.
The Los Angeles-based company has divided its boxing interests into four regions - West, East, South and United Kingdom. Hopkins is in charge of the East Coast. He thinks there is still a lot of room to develop the African-American boxing audience.
"There are a lot of black fighters [on the East Coast]," Hopkins said. "There are great fighters, some we haven't even seen yet, who can be exposed under the banner of Golden Boy Promotions."
Hopkins thinks the Barclays Center can become the epicenter of that growth. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said he was pleased with the gate of more than $800,000 for the inaugural boxing event at the Barclays. He said Golden Boy already set up the next event in Brooklyn for January.
Hopkins likes the future he sees for himself in the company.
"When you mention Golden Boy East, I've been doing things quietly," said Hopkins, who has used his Hall of Fame stature to bring several championship fighters to the Golden Boy stable. "When [De La Hoya] can't make it all the time, I'm right down the road.
"If I have the right sneakers on, I can make [to Brooklyn] from Philly in about 4 hours - when I was younger, I would say 2. "This is wonderful timing, not just for my personal career, but because there are so many good young fighters out there."
Contact John Smallwood at firstname.lastname@example.org. For recent columns, go to www.philly.com/JohnSmallwood.