It had all the makings of a big time Las Vegas fight. At the Pavilion at Tropicana Resort, the mariachi band played while spectators filed in, dressed to the nines, in anticipation of something they didn’t quite know what to expect, but knew would be good. And it didn’t disappoint, as Bill Fortier, senior vice president of development, the Americas for Hilton Worldwide and chairman of the Latino Hotel Association (LHA), said, “That was fun, and a bit shocking.”
What those on hand for the association’s inaugural conference witnessed was the first “Battle of the Brands,” the association’s signature fundraising event, which pits hotel executives in boxing bouts with one another. The event raised funds for Latino hospitality student endowments at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the University of Houston, and Temple University.
The bouts were something to behold. Behind the spectacle of elaborate introductions and cheering fans, the five bouts sandwiched a live auction that added to the money raised.
Among the fighters were David “El Diablo” Wilner, La Quinta Inns & Suites; Enrique “El Seguro” Monzon, Pan American Life Insurance Group; Rajiv “The Raging” Trivedi, La Quinta Inns & Suites; Mark “The Muscle” Williams, Best Western International; Tom “Lights Out” Lorenzo, Hilton Worldwide; Brian “The Bull” Quinn, Driftwood Hospitality; Matt “Big Daddy” Wehling, Hilton Worldwide; Shannon “The Knockout” Williams, Activate Marketing Inc.; and Hon. Lucy “The Law” Flores, Nevada Assembly District 28. Flores pulled double-duty, also singing the National Anthem before the fights began.
The bouts consisted of three one-minute rounds, and most were hotly contested.