Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night XXIII-A Star-Studded Evening
The momentous night honored Harrison Ford and Stefano Ricci and celebrated the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali
On Saturday, March 18, 2017 stars and athletes from around the country, gathered at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona to celebrate the 23rd Anniversary of Celebrity Fight Night and to honor the life of the great Muhammad Ali.GRAMMY® Award winning superstar of country music Reba McEntire returned for her twelfth year as emcee. Actor and philanthropist Harrison Ford and Italian fashion designer Stefano Ricci were honored with the 2017 Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards.
The evening also reflected on and celebrated the life of Muhammad Ali. Celebrity Fight Night Founder and Chairman, Jimmy Walker, presented a surprise gift presentation to Lonnie Ali, who was joined on stage by her grandson, Jacob Wertheimer, who spoke eloquently about his grandfather’s legacy and carrying on his work in the fight against Parkinson’s Disease. Reba McEntire read a heartfelt letter from Ali’s dear friend Billy Crystal, who was disappointed he was unable to make the event this year. Finally, longtime friend and supporter of Celebrity Fight Night, Bob Parsons, announced the establishment of the Lonnie Ali Legacy Care Program. The program was established with a joint effort from Celebrity Fight Night and the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center to provide the same kind of palliative care that Muhammad Ali received along with a development of a new tele-medicine program for patients and their caregivers.
GRAMMY® Award winning songwriter and producer David Foster, returned for his 18th consecutive year as the evening’s Musical Director.The evening began with the National Anthem performed by Amelia DeMilo, followed by a classical rendition of “Kashmir” from pianist William Joseph and violinist Caroline Campbell. Performances continued throughout the night, including Dennis Quaid and his band The Sharks, and The Shadowboxers. The evening concluded with a concert from music sensations, including Brooks and Dunn, singing “Boot Scootin Boogie,” “Reba McEntire singing her hits “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” and “Fancy,” Brian McKnight serenaded the audience with Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed,” and his own classic “Back At One,” Colbie Caillat performed “I Never Told You” and “Brighter Than The Sun,” Sam Moore kept the evening rocking with “Take Me To the River” and “Soul Man” and then lead the crowd in “God Bless America.” Mike Love ended the night with a bang, with his classic Beach Boys hits “California Girls,” “Surfin’ USA,” “Help Me Rhonda,” “Kokomo,” “Good Vibrations,” and the late Chuck Berry classic “Rock and Roll Music.”
Additional celebrity guests included Laila Ali, Lonnie Ali, Billy Blanks, Michael Carbajal, Kevin Cordes, John Paul DeJoria, Bo Derek, Larry Fitzgerald, Kirk Gibson, Cale Hulse, Robert Kennedy Jr., Larry King, Nancy Lieberman, Gena Lee Nolin, Lute Olson, Bob & Renee Parsons, Melissa Peterman, Chelsea Pezzola, Michael Phelps, Chris Rich, The Shadowboxers, Earnie Shavers, Giles Smith, Amy Van Dyken, and many more.
About Celebrity Fight Night
Celebrity Fight Night Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 by Jimmy Walker to support the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as numerous other charities. For more information, visit www.celebrityfightnight.org.
Sponsors of this year’s event included The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, USA Today Sports, Porsche, Tequila Patron, GoDaddy, M Group Scenic Studios, and GO Media Companies.