Posted: Jun 15, 2007 12:00am ET
New York's boxing fans have been forcibly separated from their cigars since the smoking ban took over the city, regardless of the fact that cigars and boxing have always had a complementary, almost poetic relationship. It's a tragic breakup that I still mourn. Look at old photographs of boxing gyms, training camps and arena fights and you'll see that cigars and cigar smoke were practically characters playing a role throughout the history of the sport. Granted, the smoking ban is probably better for the fighters in the ring, but the ritualistic puffing of a good cigar while watching two prospects slug it out is now a fond memory and finable offense, which is why the Heroes and Legends…A Night at the Fights fundraiser was such a special event.
|Penthouse Pets Krista Ayne (left) and Kimberly Williams clowning around with fight fans.|
Held on Thursday, June 7, by Tuesday's Children, an organization dedicated to raising money for families who lost a parent in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the event featured seven amateur bouts at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Manhattan. Seven officers from the Los Angeles Police Department went up against seven officers from the New York Police Department, giving the event an East Coast versus West Coast theme. All the policemen were legitimate amateur boxers scheduled to fight three-round exhibition-style bouts while the spectators enjoyed a three-course dinner.
The evening started with a cocktail hour in an adjacent room where I met up with Jermaine Gurvin, brand manager for General Cigar Co. General was sponsoring the event and provided cigars for each guest, as well as a box of Partagas Decadas for the evening's auction. I've had mixed feelings about boxing events sponsored by cigar companies since the smoking ban. The companies' hearts are in the right place, but you're never allowed to smoke the cigars at the event. You either take them home, or you go outside, forced to choose between watching the fight or smoking a cigar. It's a frustrating choice to make, and cigar-sponsored fight events essentially end up being a big tease.