SANTA MONICA---Under windy blue skies, Sugar Ray Leonard’s Fifth Annual “Big Fighters, Big Cause” Benefit took place on the historic Santa Monica pier on Tuesday.
Leonard was joined by former fighters, like Mike Tyson, Sugar Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya and even old foe Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns. Celebrities like Craig Robinson, Holly Robinson Peete and Judd Nelson were everywhere. The Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation and B. Riley and Co. sponsored the event.
Food and drink was plentiful as hundreds milled around the tents set up on the pier. The charity was held to benefit children suffering from diabetes. Before the boxing began a red carpet event was held, with video cameras rolling and flash photography taking in the action as starlets, singers and fighters entered the roped off areas.
Leonard looks as good as ever. The former welterweight, junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight champion always stays trim and ready to step in the ring if absolutely necessary.
He didn’t have to put on the gloves, though, as he had heavyweight Charles Martin (17-0-1, 15 Kos) and Rafael Pedro (21-11-1, 15 Kos) do that part of the work. Martin, a huge heavyweight whose trademark is stepping over the ropes, didn’t take too long to dispatch of Pedro at 2:19 of the first round, by technical knockout.
Martin’s last fight was also a knockout win, which came against Alexander Flores in a battle of undefeated heavyweights. So far the monster southpaw looks too strong for any grade B heavyweight. A good match would be Deontay Wilder. Both are big and strong with plenty of power. Wilder has more speed but Martin seems to have a better chin.
In a light heavyweight showdown, Vyacheslav Shabransky (8-0, 7 Kos) remained undefeated with a tepid performance resulting in a technical knockout over Paul Vasquez (10-5-1) at 23 seconds into the eighth and final round.
Luis Grajeda (17-2-2, 13 Kos) and Said Al Harrak (12-2-2) fought to a draw after eight rounds in a junior middleweight clash. Mexico’s Grajeda, who knocked out Hector Camacho Jr. two years ago, was unable to distance himself from Al Harrak, who now trains in Las Vegas.
After the brief fight card, fans and celebrities stayed long after to converse and mingle.
Usher arrived late and was among the final celebs to arrive.
Female boxers Daisy Lang and Mia St. John were also present at the festivities.