What a weekend it was. I was invited to Las Vegas with Hublot to experience, first-hand, the brand’s intimate and strong relationship with the world of boxing. According to Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot, “Everything started almost ten years ago when we met in Mexico with Mauricio Sulaiman of the World Boxing Council (WBC) and Jean-Claude Biver. Mauricio told us about his father’s dream to help boxers who had problems in health or because of later hardships. We decided to come on board with that project. Hublot is always first, unique and different in everything we do, and we were the first watch brand to get involved in boxing in a meaningful way.”
In fact, it was seven years ago in 2012 that Hublot and the WBC formed the Jose Sulaiman Boxers Fund and began raising money for assistance. At that time, Hublot created 12 unique King Power World Boxing Council watches with the signature of a living champion. They were pre-auctioned and the winning bidder of each received his watch directly from the champion whose signature was on it at a gala dinner in Las Vegas. That event raised approximately $1 million, and since then, until this weekend, Hublot has raised $1.2 million for the cause. This weekend, though, that number doubled as Hublot and WBC hosted the Night of Champions gala charity dinner with silent auction, live auction and donation pledges – all to the tune of another $1.2 million raised for the Foundation.
At the cocktail and seated dinner, 13 top living legends were honored, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Big George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, Oscar De la Hoya, Vitaly Klitschko, Jeff Fenech, Hozumi Hasegawa, and Zou Shiming. A friend of Hublot and WBC, Carlos Santana was also in attendance and awarded the Campeon de la Musica honor.
Hublot Big Bang Unico WBC
For this momentous occasion – which took place the night before the big Canelo/Jacobs boxing match – Hublot has unveiled a new Big Bang Unico WBC watch in two versions. Both sport the vibrant green that is the iconic color of the boxing championship belt. One version is created in green micro-blasted ceramic (100 pieces each retailing for $28,300) and the other is crafted in 18-karat yellow gold with a green ceramic bezel (50 pieces each retailing for $38,800). Both 45mm watch versions are powered by the 330-part HUB1242 Unico self-winding chronograph movement and each is finished with a green alligator strap. Each championship boxer honored that night was gifted one of the all-green ceramic versions.
The auction was chocked with great prizes up for bid, including eight unique packages such as trips with champion boxers, lessons with champion boxers, the opportunity to get in the ring and even to make a first pitch at a Major League Baseball game. All of the proceeds from the event go to the Jose Sulaiman Boxers Fund for those boxers who have experienced hardships and are in need.
Talking with the legends
In addition to attending this incredible star-studded event, I had the great pleasure of going behind the scenes to interview some of those legends, including Lennox Lewis, George Foreman and Evander Holyfield. Each of these champions was thrilled with the fact that a luxury watch brand has stepped up to support the world of boxing and has helped raise funds for those less fortunate boxers. While I will be writing those interviews up in full soon, I thought it would be fun to give a glimpse of what they had to say about time and watches.
Big George Foreman, who fought in the late 1960s to the late ‘70s, admitted that he is an avid watch lover and collector.
Big George Foreman, who fought in the late 1960s to the late 70s (and then came back again from 1987 to 1997), admitted that he is an avid watch lover and collector. “I am a watch nut,” he says. “I love when you have nice watches and no one knows what they are. If you go in with a Rolex, everyone knows that, but when you go in with a really nice high-end watch, nobody knows what it is and I love that.” Among his favorite watches in his collection are Hublot, a Franck Muller Vegas watch, several Rolexes and a host of others. “Sometimes I just take them out of the safe deposit box to look at them,” he says with a smile. The first watch he ever purchased for himself was a $150 Bulova Accutron early on in his fighting career. “Nobody had one like it. I bought it and then when they stopped making it, I went around and started collecting them.”
Evander Holyfield, who competed from 1984 to 2011, says the first big watch purchase he made for himself was a Timex. “You have to remember, when I grew up I was poor and people in my neighborhood didn’t have much. That Timex, you know, with the slogan ‘It takes a licking and keeps on ticking’, was special to me. I was so glad just to have a watch at all.” Lennox Lewis, whose career spanned from 1989 to 2003 and is a three-time world heavyweight champion, said his first watch was a Rolex. He also owns several Hublot watches, including his favorite which has his signature on it.