By Delinda Lombardo on
The legend himself, Muhammad Ali, was the guest of honor at Celebrity Fight Night XV, held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday. And this year’s event once again lived up to its reputation as one the nation’s largest fundraising efforts, as celebrities and sport stars lined up to support the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.
Since it’s inception 15 years ago, Celebrity Fight Night has raised more than $52 million for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center in Phoenix and other charities.
Country star Reba McEntire emceed the event for the fourth time, while guests such as Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and Forest Whitaker were this year’s honorees who ‘best represented the qualities associated with the Champ and his fight to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.’
Kurt Warner, who received the Sports Leadership Award, said, “We’re just blessed. God put us in a position to try to make an impact and you receive honors like this and you accept them humbly.”
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who received the Sports Achievement Award, couldn’t have been happier. “It is good to be here with so many great people and Muhammad Ali especially,” he said. “I had the privilege of meeting him 4 years ago so being here and being with everyone it is a special night.”
Actor Forest Whitaker received the Entertainer Award and President of Kinray, the largest privately held drug distributor in the U.S, Stewart Rahr, received the Entrepreneur Award.
Guests also enjoyed musical performances by Jon Bon Jovi, Charice Pempengco, Ray Firestone and Michael Johns, while bidding on some incredible auction items. Celebrities in attendance included: Bo Derek, Jordin Sparks and Josh Groban among others.
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