The gala’s 2,000 attendees were there to celebrate Mr. Ali’s life and generate millions of dollars for brain research, a mission Mr. Ali’s family says is important to him in part because of his nearly 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
A set of gloves Mr. Ali used to defeat Floyd Patterson in 1965 in Las Vegas - the first heavyweight title fight in Sin City - sold for $1.1 million. The gloves came with one of the original posters used to promote the fight, which had Muhammad Ali’s chosen name as a subscript to Cassius Clay, the name he was given at birth. When Mr. Ali converted to Islam, many people resisted calling him by his new name.
Lorenzo Fertitta, a casino owner and Ultimate Fighting Championship owner, won the gloves, which organizers earlier had said they hoped would fetch $500,000.
Guests arriving on the red carpet included football great Franco Harris, supermodel Cindy Crawford, actor Samuel L. Jackson, Mr. Ali’s children and grandchildren and Chuck Wepner, who fought Mr. Ali in 1975 for the heavyweight title and lost.
The gala — with tickets starting at $1,500 per plate — was held at the MGM Grand, the site of most of boxing’s major fights the past two decades. Famous faces converged on the 160 tables adjacent to two rings and a stage — Terrence Howard, Anthony Hopkins, Manny Pacquiao and Lenny Kravitz, among others. They spoke and performed in tribute to a fighter who went 56-5 in the ring with 37 knockouts and became perhaps the most famous athlete ever because of his personality and willingness to stand up publicly for his beliefs.
Stevie Wonder, who performed earlier in the day at Whitney Houston’s funeral, performed “Keep Our Love Alive” and “Superstition.” Mr. Ali’s daughter Rasheda Ali said Mr. Wonder was the performer her father was most looking forward to seeing.
Mr. Wonder wasn’t the only performer.
Snoop Dogg sang a medley of his hits; John Legend, Mr. Kravitz, Slash, Kelly Rowland and Cee Lo Green all performed. LL Cool J rapped “Mama Said Knock You Out” as DJ Z-Trip span a remixed version of the song that included Ali audio, including his famous “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” quote.
• Compiled from Web and wire service reports.