Report and photos by Boxing Bob Newman
“A Legendary Weekend,” hosted by the World Boxing Council and Hublot Watches at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, got underway today at noon. Several boxers from the “Divine Dozen” arrived and met with press from around the world. Lennox Lewis, Jeff Fenech, Larry Holmes, Thomas Hearns, Mike Tyson, and Roberto Duran comprised the first half of the boxers whose signatures will be inscribed on the unique watches up for auction at Saturday’s fund raising event. The proceeds will go into escrow to be issued in monthly retirement payments to former boxers and champs in need of financial assistance.
Here are some quotes from those assembled boxers:
Lennox Lewis: As a boxer I realize how important it is to help or fellow boxers and the fact that the WBC and Hublot has come together, it’s such a great combination. I’m glad that this has started, they’re doing a great job and I support that.”
Jeff Fenech: “It’s an amazing honor to be here with these great champions. When you talk about undefeated champions, Hublot is the undefeated champion- THE best watch company in the world. You also got to take your hats of to the WBC for what they’ve done.”
Mike Tyson: “I’m always grateful to be part of anything. The WBC is where I won my first belt at. I started living my life on a positive level and when you live your life differently, things happen for you. I’m not living my life the way I lived before.”
Thomas Hearns: “I’m very excited to be one of the boxers that they’ve picked to come here and be part of the event. This event is a very great event which is going to help some fighters that may need some help. I think whatever we can do to try to help somebody, we should do it.”
WBC Executive Secretary Mauricio Sulaiman: “This has been a dream come true. My father has been trying to form a fund, a formal fund with all the requirements. One day we were sitting down, my father, myself and Mr. J. C. Biver from Hublot. He said, ‘What is it you want?’ My father said, ‘A fund for former fighters.’ He stood up and shook hands. And that’s how this came about.”
WBC President Jose Sulaiman: “The WBC has been concerned for years of all the boxers who touched glory, ended boxing and went into poverty. I can see so many boxers living in misery and I don’t believe that boxing should forget them.”
Former champs Iran Barkley, Terry Norris, Marc “Too Sharp” Johnson, Mike McCallum, Cornelius Boza-Edwards and current WBC Super Welterweight champion Mia St. John joined VIPs and the lot at Lily’s night club within the Bellagio for a cocktail party this evening.
Full video interviews to come soon. Stay tuned.