The joint smelled a tiny bit better than it does on an average day, even in a photo scrum of folks trying to snap a pic of Tom Brady, the golden boy ace quarterback who led the celeb pack at a Tuesday night fete at the famed and fabled Gleason's Gym to commemorate Muhammad Ali.
Credit for bringing an assemblage of sweet smelling souls goes to time-piece maker Tag Heuer, who crafted this fete to benefit The Muhammad Ali Center, and remind the partygoers of the everlasting legacy appeal of The Greatest. A unique commemorative timepiece from TAG Heuer showed KO appeal, eliciting a bidding war which stopped out at $88,000. Also, a pair of autographed boxing gloves and ringside tickets to the next Gennady Golovkin were auctioned at the event. A grand sum of $119,000 was raised, skillfully and artfully by auctioneer Stephanie Landess, as the mood was one of giving.
Truly, the site was majestic, with the setup–headed up by Martin James of Crown Heights–and lighting and overall vibe adding up to a special event. “We've done a lot of these sort of affairs over the years,” said gym owner Bruce Silverglade, “but this one was special. It was incredible. This is tops!”
Fight game luminaries like Evander Holyfield, Roberto Duran and Julio Cesar Chavez hobnobbed with Ali foes George Chuvalo and Earnie Shavers, while Brady (below, with Holyfield, and wearing Everlast) shared his aura, and Hendrik Lundqvist made the rounds. Paul Malignaggi performed capably as emcee, introing the fighters to many people who don't know a left hook from a fish hook.
A particular highlight was the auction win pulled off by Jean-Claude Biver (below, with Mrs Ali), CEO of TAG Heuer and President of the LVMH Watch Division, and organiser of this charity event, who met Muhammad Ali four years ago. He cracked that the only thing he liked more than making the works of art is buying them, for such a stellar cause.
Malignaggi (below, in action.) “It was memorable event that was star studded with various stars from both the boxing world as well as other sports. I was humbled to be able to MC and cohost such an event honoring the career and life of the greatest of all time.”
The affair got me thinking, bravo to Tag Heuer. Boxers, standard bearers for the best attributes in sport, of strength and stamina and sportsmanship and perseverance, should be utilized as endorsers and spokespersons far more than they are.
Boxing lifers like Lou Dibella, Heather Hardy (seen above), Devon Cornac, Sampson and Nathan Lewkowicz, Mauricio Sulaiman, Jill Diamond, Anthony Catanzaro, Kelly Swanson, Mark Breland, Fres Oquendo and Gordon Hall mingled and shared the collective spirit in the room, as synopsized by Silverglade: “Ali was known as a champion in boxing, but he was known outside of the sport, by everyone. His legacy as a sportsman and human being will last forever.”
Hardy gave the event an A plus. “It was such a treat to see a gathering of so many different generations of boxers under one roof to celebrate the life and career of perhaps the best boxer who ever lived,” she said. “It was an honor to be a part of it.”