By: William Holmes
The city of Atlantic City has long been known to be one of the premier destinations for World Title Fights. Recently however, Atlantic City has experienced some competition from nearby cities with casinos for boxing matches, but Atlantic City still has been able to maintain its reputation as a premiere destination for world title fights.
Last night at the Resorts Casino, Atlantic City gave a touching tribute to its past and served as a strong reminder of the influence Atlantic City has had on boxing.
The chairman of the event was the Chief Prosecutor of Atlantic City, Jonathan Diego. The architect and visionary of the project was Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford. He wisely decided to hold this tribute during the 1st Annual Atlantic City Multi Cultural Heritage Festival.
Since its inception, boxing has long known to attract participants of recent immigrants into the United States. It was a pragmatic decision.
Resorts pulled out all the stops to entertain the crowd and give those in attendance the best service possible. The stars in attendance arrived and were given the red carpet treatment, and many made themselves available for pictures with the fans.
Easily recognizable legends such as Don King and Jackie Kallen were gracious with those in attendance, and readily talked with fans waiting in line.
Even the waiters were reminiscing about the past, and I could hear two of them discussing the techniques used by Ali and Frazier during their clash.
Joe Frazier was, and still is, loved by the boxing industry. A touching tribute was given to him near the end of the event, and a 10 count tribute was given to many who have influenced the fight scene in Atlantic City. 10 counts were also respectfully given to boxers such as Leavander Johnson, Arturo Gatti, and Ronald “Butch” Lewis.
Some in the crowd, including myself, stood up and cheered at the end of the ten count for legendary boxing writer Burt Sugar.
Awards were given to numerous referees, judges, boxers, promoters, and writers who have been involved in the industry. They started the night be recognizing fighters in the bantamweight division, and worked their way up to the heavyweights. Boxing mainstays such as Larry Hazzard, Ray Bailey, Rudy Batle, Joe Dwyer, Henry Haska, Harold Lederman, Steve Smoger, Don King, J. Russell Peltz, Rocky Lockridge, Shimon Alvarez, John Brown, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Pernell Whitaker, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Ray Mercer, Michael Spinks, and Mike Tyson were in attendance and respectfully acknowledged.
For the first of many annual boxing galas, hiccups were to be expected. But overall it was a well-run event, and has the potential to be even bigger next year.
The event was sold out, and most in attendance planned on attending next year.
Atlantic City did an excellent job of acknowledging those in the past who have helped make Atlantic City become a boxing mecca.
Judging by the attendance of the event last night, Atlantic City made a loud statement that it will continue to be a boxing mecca.