Five-division titlewinner Sugar Ray Leonard, former heavyweight champions Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks and James “Buster” Douglas, ex-champs Aaron Pryor (junior welterweight), Ray Mancini (lightweight) and three-division titlewinner Pernell Whitaker attended Thursday night’s The Fight Night For Children charity event at The Washington Hilton, in Washington, D.C., according to Hall of Fame ring announcer Michael Buffer.
Created in 1990 by the late Joseph E. Robert, who died of brain cancer in December of last year, the Fight Night is a black-tie event geared toward generating financial support from government, business, entertainment and sports entities for Washington, D.C.-area children from low-income families.
The evening includes auctions, entertainment and live professional boxing matches, with proceeds funding organizations which provide education and healthcare services to needy kids. The event was held in spite of the difficulties brought on by Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged much of the East Coast starting early this week.
“Fight night 2012 was again a successful fundraiser. It was difficult for the board after losing the much-loved founder, Joe Robert, but they regrouped and did a great job with another Washington, D.C. power-broker turnout, raising over a million dollars,” said Buffer, who was on hand along with former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney.
“I have participated in 18 of the 23 Fight Nights. Of the legends present, SRL (Leonard), Whitaker and Mancini looked exceptionally great — slim, athletic and only a few pounds over their prime fighting days. It was great to see that.”
Entertainment was provided by The Washington Redskins’ cheerleaders, alongside R&B legend MC Hammer. The memory of Hall of Fame trainer, Emanuel “Manny” Steward, who died on Oct. 25 at the age of 68, was not lost on those present, particularly Buffer.
“Friday is my birthday. [I will be] 68. No celebration this year because of the passing of Manny,” said Buffer, who called Steward “an icon” during an interview with RingTV.com. “It’s still tough to feel good about anything. It will take a long time to get over this loss.”
Jack Obermayer of Fight Fax Inc reported that in Thursday evening’s contested bouts, southpaw heavyweight Jerry Forrest (2-0, 1 KO), of Newport News, Va., earned a four-round unanimous decision over Brice Ritani-Coe (3-1-1, 3 KOs), of Las Vegas; light heavyweight Greg Newby (2-0, 2 KOs), of Washington, D.C., scored a third-round knockout over Steve Tyner (3-8-2, 2 KOs), of Akron, Ohio, and Mongolian junior welterweight Bayarn Jargal (17-3-3, 11 KOs), of Arlington, Va., dropped his rival twice during a first-round stoppage of ex-IBF featherweight beltholder Eric Aiken (16-10-1, 12 KOs), of Washington, D.C.
Photo courtesy of Michael Buffer
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]