An epic night of star power that once again proved Muhammad Ali’s ability to draw crowds wasn’t without a mystery.
So who actually won the live auction bidding duel over a pair of boxing gloves Ali wore in his first Las Vegas title fight?
It was first announced that Lorenzo Fertitta, vice chairman of Station Casinos and co-owner of the UFC, had the successful bid of $750,000 for the gloves from Ali’s Nov. 22, 1965, fight against Floyd Patterson.
It appeared it was official when someone suggested it was a done deal if fight promoter Bob Arum, one of the UFC’s biggest critics, would say he loved the UFC. "Anything for charity," Arum responded. "I love the UFC!"
Arum was on stage with Larry Ruvo, who tied the Ali birthday tribute in with his Keep Memory Alive "Power of Love" benefit gala, and James Dundee, son of Ali’s longtime trainer Angelo Dundee, who died Feb. 1. That trio presented the auction package.
Then came confusing announcements that the bid had hit $1.1 million, with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joining the bidding.
Media requests for clarification were not received by late Sunday.
Jones has been attempting to lure boxing superfights to his new Cowboys Stadium, which holds 105,000 for NFL games.
For the red carpet interviews, go to www.normclarke.com.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Ali showed up at the Golden Steer, an old Vegas legend, late Friday and gave chef Sergio Mendena the ultimate compliment. The Champ kissed the spoon to show his affection for the chicken soup. Manager Stephanie Steele said the booth will be named after Ali.
A crowd in the MGM Grand lobby went wild Sunday at the surprising presence of Ali standing in a boxing ring. Fans cheered as he made his way through the casino on a golf cart for a birthday cake presentation in the ring. … Stevie Wonder, who led the Power of Love crowd in serenading Ali with "Happy Birthday," stopped at Tao (The Venetian) for an after-midnight dinner. … Sean "Diddy" Combs, Lenny Kravitz and Common performed a set of songs at 1 OAK (Mirage) after attending the Ali event. … James Gandolfini of "The Sopranos," using a cane to get around at the Ali gala. Knee surgery, he told me. He’s playing a Las Vegas casino owner in the upcoming comedy "Burt Wonderstone." He was at a table with former Las Vegan Steve Schirripa. … Chord Overstreet of "Glee," celebrating his 23rd birthday at Lavo (Palazzo) on Saturday with a group that included co-star Harry Shum Jr. … I’m hearing Paris Hilton and her group raised the ire of poker players at the Wynn on Friday by smoking in the nonsmoking poker room. … At N9NE Steakhouse (Palms): Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer.
THE PUNCH LINE
"Does this look Lin-fected to you?" — From David Letterman’s "Worst Jeremy Lin Puns"
Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email@example.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.