The Tropicana Hotel (3,000 bedrooms) where we were staying was amazing. The venue for the fight was part of the Las Vegas Hilton which had some 5,000 bedrooms. There were 2,500 Brits supporting Frank in the 10,000 capacity auditorium, and we were in row 12 from the ringside. We had decided to wear our dinner jackets for the evening, so as to distinguish us from some of the unsavoury British elements that we had already run into.
When Mike Tyson entered the arena he looked menacing and murderous – you would have believed that he wanted to pulp everybody in the room. Then Frank, bless him, made his entrance and you could equally believe that your granny would have a chance in the ring with him; everybody was terrified for him. The atmosphere was truly electric.
The fight starts and everybody was cheering for Frank, even the Americans; it turned out that the best odds were for him to survive more than one round, then improving each round, and the Americans wanted him to survive for many more rounds yet.
It’s still round one and Frank lands a couple of punches and Tyson wobbles – my God he’s got him!! Tyson recovers and it’s the end of Round 1. That was the first time that anybody had come close to hurting Tyson – the problem, though, was that it made him angry. Frank lasted well into the 5th round but eventually succumbed, the fight being stopped by the merciful referee.
The major highlight for me was doing a ‘high five’ with Muhammad Ali, as he walked away from the ring down the celebrities’ fenced off exit route next to our seats.
Other highlights were the unmarried Gary Macdonald hiring a 60-foot stretch limo with a Jacuzzi full of ice and champagne, various nibbles and 3 young ladies, spending an afternoon of relaxation cruising up and down the Strip. A treat he had bought himself for his 30th birthday.
The guys also organised for me and my brother to have a ‘Swedish massage’, whilst they flew down the Grand Canyon and over the Hoover Dam in a small private plane. My brother, who could be a bit of a prig, protested – but I told him to ’take it for the team’. I was in on the joke. The massage was executed by the most enormously muscular black man I’d ever seen, and if he had done ‘extras’, my brother’s gentleman’s sausage would have gone flying out of the window!
INSIGHT 113:- The tickets alone were £5,000 and I can’t remember the cost of the whole trip; however, this was some of the best money that I had ever showered over my key sales staff, and they were worth every penny. We were over whatever imaginary hump shutting down the showrooms might have caused us – including some of my fellow directors thinking it would be oblivion.