Muhammad Ali is returning to the scene of his glory years for what is being billed as “the greatest boxing night in Las Vegas history.”
A 70th birthday celebration is planned for Feb. 18 with Ali as the featured guest at the 15th Annual Keep Memory Alive Foundation Power of Love charity gala at the MGM Grand Garden.
Ali, who turns 70 on Jan. 17, fought here seven times over 19 years, including five title fights. He retained his title three times here.
The most stunning defeat of his 56-5 record occurred at the Las Vegas Hilton on Feb. 15, 1978, at the hands of 24-year-old Leon Spinks.
Larry Ruvo, managing director of Southern Wine & Spirits and founder of the gala, said it will be “the greatest boxing night in Las Vegas history.”
Ali was 19 when he fought in Las Vegas for the first time in 1961. His last title fight was at Caesars Palace on Oct. 2, 1980, when he couldn’t answer the bell for the 11th round against Larry Holmes. A year later, Ali retired three weeks shy of 40 after losing a decision to Trevor Berbick.
CHATEAU: ‘ZERO PRESSURE’
The Las Vegas nightclub that booked Kris Humphries as a celebrity host this weekend says it had “zero pressure” from the Kardashian family to cancel the gig.
Chateau Nightclub & Gardens issued a statement on Wednesday saying Humphries had canceled his Saturday engagement at the Paris Las Vegas nightspot.
A Chateau rep said the club “had zero contact, zero pressure” as far as the Kardashians were concerned.
“His team was apologetic. They indicated he would make up a new date in the future. His situation didn’t lend to coming to Las Vegas at this time.”
Humphries’ wife, Kim Kardashian, filed for divorce Monday, 72 days after their wedding, on grounds of “irreconcilable differences.”
There have been reports that Kardashian was angry when she heard the NBA player had recently hired a Hollywood publicist. A Las Vegas publicist said Humphries showed a lack of judgment in agreeing to a shirtless pose to promote his appearance at Chateau.
“If I was his new wife, I would have been pissed that he did that,” said the publicist, who asked for anonymity.
Las Vegas has been prime revenue-generating territory for the Kardashians since the popularity of their reality show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
Family members are regularly booked for lucrative hosting appearances. Vegas Confidential reported earlier this year that Kardashian was paid more than $1 million over a year for a handful of appearances at Tao clubs.
The divorce papers were filed eight days after Kardashian celebrated her 31st birthday at Tao Group’s Marquee (Cosmopolitan) with Humphries, sister Khloe and her husband, Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers, mom Kris Jenner and Kim’s former “Dancing With the Stars” partner, Mark Ballas.
MAY I RECOMMEND …
The 10th annual Vegas Valley Book Festival partners with First Friday this weekend. The main festival site, the Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth St., will feature 100 authors and includes a children’s book festival from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Dayvid Figler and Chumlee, of “Pawn Stars,” co-host a haiku contest at 6 p.m. at Brett Wesley Gallery at Charleston and Casino Center boulevards. From there, they will lead a parade of decorated bikes from gallery to gallery.
Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp, celebrating his biggest season at STK (Cosmopolitan) on Wednesday.
THE PUNCH LINE
“The Israeli Cabinet is discussing a pre-emptive attack on Iran. Do you realize if that happened, it could knock Kim Kardashian right off the front page?” — Jay Leno
Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.