The Latino Hotel Association gave me the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream.
While covering the association’s 2011 International Conference & Expo in Las Vegas last month, I was asked to serve as one of three judges for the LHA’s “Battle of the Brands” charity boxing event that raises money for a Latino college fund, as well as job training programs for Latinos in the hospitality industry.
As a big boxing fan, how could I say no to spending a couple of hours acting as a judge in the boxing capital of the world? And to sweeten the pot even more, I’d be watching a bunch of hotel industry executives beat each other to a bloody pulp inside the Tropicana Las Vegas.
OK, so no one was carted out on a stretcher—but no one was pulling punches, either. In fact, on more than one occasion, I heard leather gloves slap and saw heads snap back from my ringside seat.
(Oh, one note for next year’s event organizers: Maybe serve dinner before the fighting starts—can’t say the image of sweat flying off the heads of the pugilists and landing oh-so-close to my chicken dinner did much for my appetite.)
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“Rajiv “The Raging” Trivedi (red trunks) of La Quinta Inns & Suites looks for an opening in the guard of Best Western International’s Mark “The Muscle” Williams during the Battle of the Brands last month in Las Vegas.
All five of the three-round, one-minute-per-round bouts went the distance, meaning my judging ability would be on full display in front of the crowd. I took my judging philosophy directly from boxing analyst Max Kellerman: Decide who you would rather have been during each round and score the round for that fighter.
With that in mind: My apologies to Driftwood Hospitality’s Executive VP Brian Quinn. I definitely would not have wanted to be you in your bout versus Matt Wehling, Hilton Worldwide’s VP & managing director of development.
I’m happy to report each of the fights went to the winner I had on my own scorecard. A judge’s worst fear, after all, is to be the odd judge out.
Without further ado, below are the results from the Battle of the Brands event:
• David “El Diablo” Wilner (La Quinta Inns & Suites, senior VP of franchise development) defeated Enrique “El Seguro” Monzon (Pan-American Life Insurance Group, 2nd VP, domestic markets). (Judge’s note: Losing to an insurance company executive, whose nickname can be translated as “The Insurance” is inexcusable and impossible to live down.)
• The aforementioned “Big Daddy” Wehling beat “The Bull” Quinn. (Judge’s note: Props to Wehling for the best nickname of the night.)
• Nate “El Soldado” Canales (a volunteer for the Soldiers’ Angels charity) defeated Tom “Lights Out” Lorenzo (Hilton, VP and managing director of franchise development). (Judge’s note: Speaking of nicknames, yours was an appropriate one, Lorenzo.)
• Shannon “The Knockout” Williams (Activate Marketing, president) defeated the Honorable Lucy “The Law” Flores (Nevada Assembly District 28). (Judge’s note: I can’t begin to tell you how much satisfaction I took from watching a politician get beat up in the ring.)
• Mark “The Muscle” Williams (Best Western International, VP, North American development) defeated Rajiv “The Raging” Trivedi (La Quinta, executive VP, franchise and chief development officer). (Judge’s note: The toughest fight to score was decided by one point. In my eye, “The Muscle” landed just a few more clean, hard shots to secure the victory on my scorecard.)
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