By Boxing Bob Newman
In a first-of-its-kind event, the WBC and Hublot Watches teamed up to initiate a structured retirement pension fund for boxers in need through “A Legendary Evening,” held at The Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. Twelve unique signature watches were auctioned off to the highest bidders. Each watch bore the engraved signature of one of the twelve select boxers on hand for the event. While former WBC heavyweight champion Ken Norton wasn’t able to attend due to his recovery from a recent stroke, and multi division champion Oscar De La Hoya had a family emergency that prevented him from coming, the other ten- George Foreman, Ray Leonard, Larry Holmes, Thomas Hearns, Lennox Lewis, Azumah Nelson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Roberto Duran, Mike Tyson and Jeff Fenech were on hand to take part in this historic event.
Hall of Fame ring announcer Michael Buffer emceed the event, introducing each fighter as their watch and robe modeled by an array of beauties, went to the bidding. Special guest auctioneer was Malcolm Barber, formerly of renowned auction house Sotheby’s, and currently managing director of Bonhams.
After the scrumptious $1000 a plate dinner featuring a double entree of filet mignon and colossal shrimp, the auction got underway.
Each fighter and his signature watch and robe were first introduced via highlight reel action of their greatest ring moments on several large screens in the room. The bidding lots were often heated with some fighters’ watches and robes jumping in increments of $10,000 at a time!
The winning bids for each boxer’s watch and robe were as follows:
George Foreman: $100,000
Ray Leonard: $140,000
Larry Holmes: $65,000
Thomas Hearns: $58,000
Lennox Lewis: $105,000
Azumah Nelson: $52,000
Julio Cesar Chavez: $100,000
Roberto Duran: $55,000
Oscar De La Hoya: $72,000
Mike Tyson: $120,000
Jeff Fenech: $60,000
Ken Norton: $60,000
For a grand total of $987,000
Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe upped the ante by another $23,000 to bring the grand total of proceeds to the hoped for $1,000,000 raised for the inaugural pension fund.
Winning bidders got to enter the ring with their designated champion alongside them, as well as Hublot’s Ricardo Guadalupe, WBC president Jose Sulaiman and the giant check for $1,000,000 to the WBC pension fund. With the anticipated success of this inaugural event, it is likely to be repeated next year, and hopefully for years to come.