Ali’s Fight Night Dazzles with David Foster, Andrea Bocelli & Jennifer Lopez



by Jenny Peters

It’s a tough crowd in Phoenix, but when they like you, they really, really like you.

And they showered their love onto Reba McEntire and Rita Wilson (along with Tom Hanks via telephone) during the extended live auction section of Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night XIX held on March 23 at the J. W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort. At the champ’s annual fundraiser that supports his Parkinson Center and a host of other charities, the deep-pocketed crowd bid $400,000 — twice — to have dinner with them at Reba’s Beverly Hills manse.


Two thousand people packed the ballroom, vying to throw money at the cause after being treated to the bluegrass pickings of Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers and witnessing the 71-year-old Ali walking across the stage, aided by wife Lonnie. That sight brought tears and cheers, especially from the fighter’s “Little Brother,” comedian Billy Crystal, who always makes this scene. Ali, who does not speak in public, watched as Crystal handed Martin his Celebrity Fight Night Award, which is, of course, shaped like a boxing ring.

“I like getting a trophy,” Martin cracked. “It’s so much better than a plaque. Think about it: so many producers in Hollywood have a trophy wife, but not one has a plaque wife!”

Jennifer Lopez brought boyfriend Casper Smart to the party; she, too, took home an award, proffered up by the not-related Mario Lopez. Billionaire businessman Dennis Washington was also honored; he’s had the same wife for almost 50 years, but Phoenix certainly has its share of trophy wives, too, and every one of them was dripping in diamonds and on display at the bash. But it was mostly the men who did the big-bucks bidding, being well-lubricated as the Moet bubbly and Belvedere vodka flowed. And Go Daddy owner (and another billionaire) Bob Parsons led the charge.

He threw down $175K to party at JLo’s next movie premiere; $500K to have dinner with Crystal, Martin and Robin Williams; and $550K to visit singer Andrea Bocelli at his Tuscan home. And the cash kept flowing from other sources, too, as a golf day with Phil Mickelson went for $325K, a Paul McCartney meet-and-greet for $70K and a private dinner with Halle Berry a trifling $50K.

Guests ranging from Joe Manganiello to Evander Holyfield were treated to a crazy mix of musical guests presented by maestro David Foster, from “American Idol” alums Haley Reinhart and Michael Johns belting out pop tunes to Tate Stevens and Billy Ray Cyrus doing country, immediately followed by Bocelli singing “Ave Maria.”

“I would have swum across the ocean to be here with Muhammad Ali,” proclaimed Bocelli, who’d flown in from Abu Dhabi that morning.

The night ended with the extravaganza that is JLo on tour: multiple costume changes, 12 backup dancers, wind machine blowing her hair back, extravagant canned music – and in one real moment, a Spanish duet with Bocelli that reminded the happy crowd of what she sounds like when she actually sings live.

All in all, $7.2 million was raised. Not bad for one single star-studded night in the desert.

[Event] David Foster to direct Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night event March 23




Source: Arizona Entertainment


Jennifer Lopez to perform at Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night event in Phoenix 
Updated January 31, 2013 at 08:09PM 
Celebrity Fight Night, one of the nation’s most significant charity events, has announced that international superstar Jennifer Lopez is scheduled to perform at “Celebrity Fight Night XIX” on Saturday, March 23 at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix.

The primary beneficiary is the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute, which is the most comprehensive Parkinson’s Center in the country.

Lopez just wrapped her “Dance Again World Tour,” performing to packed houses around the world. The Golden Globe nominee stars opposite Jason Statham in a new film release, “Parker.”

Music artist, entertainer, actress, film and TV producer, fashion designer, entrepreneur and humanitarian, Jennifer Lopez has been called one of the most powerful and celebrated celebrities in entertainment.

A portion of the proceeds from the charity event will go to the Lopez Family Foundation. The organization is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children and women around the world.
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“We’re honored to have Jennifer Lopez give a special performance this year. Her generosity and humanitarian work align with the vision of ‘Celebrity Fight Night’ and will inspire a successful night of fundraising for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and other great causes,” said Jimmy Walker, founder and president of the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation.

During the gala, Muhammad Ali will honor Jennifer Lopez with a Celebrity Fight Night Award. The Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards acknowledge leaders in the sports, business or entertainment community who have achieved extraordinary accomplishments and have been instrumental in giving back to charity – key qualities associated with the Champ.

In addition to Jennifer Lopez’s performance, entertainment will include fellow Celebrity Fight Night Award honoree Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Billy Crystal, Billy Ray Cyrus, Rita Wilson and more.

Grammy Award-winning leading lady of country music, Reba McEntire will join featured guest Muhammad Ali at the star-studded gala. Ms. McEntire will return as the evening’s emcee for her eighth consecutive year.

Also returning will be 16-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer, David Foster who will serve as musical director for his 14th year.

“Celebrity Fight Night” premiered in the Valley in 1994 when local celebrities donned oversized boxing gloves for a comedic fight in the ring before 400 attendees. Today, more than 1,200 guests attend the event to accompany Muhammad Ali and other A-List celebrities.

Celebrity Fight Night no longer features celebrity boxing, but by attending the event and bidding on live and silent auction items, each guest does their part to join Ali in winning the fight for charities.

Over the past 18 years, Celebrity Fight Night has raised $80 million for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and other charities. Celebrities and professional athletes from around the U.S. join Muhammad Ali each year for the celebrity-filled night complete with live auction items and musical performances by many of today’s brightest stars.

Previous guests have included Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Billy Crystal, Kevin Costner, Garth Brooks, Matchbox Twenty, Kelly Clarkson, Jon Bon Jovi, Robin Williams, Rascal Flatts, Miley Cyrus, Jim Carrey, Larry King, Donald Trump, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Randy Jackson, Sharon Stone, Lionel Richie, Bo Derek, Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, John Mellencamp, Chris Tucker, Forest Whitaker, Arnold Schwarzenegger and more.

Individual tickets range from $1,500 to $5,000 each, and tables of 10 range from $15,000 to $100,000 each. For reservations, call 602-956-1121.

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