Ringside a Big Hit

For the 22nd time, amateur boxers from Chicago’s leading financial firms faced off in the ring to raise support for Mercy Home this past Saturday night at the Downtown Chicago Marriott. More than 1,000 guests cheered them on and enjoyed diverse entertainment at the Ringside for Mercy’s Sake black-tie gala.

Proceeds from this year’s Ringside went to Mercy Home’sLegacy of Learning campaign which, when completed, will ensure that every child in our care today and in the future has access to a life-changing education. Helping to punch up the evening’s fundraising total was a special pledge for education held before the live auction. The Sun-Times Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust matched up to $25,000 in donations made during the pledge to Mercy Home’s Legacy of Learning campaign. Up to $1,000 was matched per individual donation.

Nine live boxing bouts formed the centerpiece of an event that has become more dynamic and multi-faceted each year. All of Saturday night’s fights thrilled the crowd, but only one could claim the title of “Fight of the Year.” The 2013 winners of the coveted trophy, a Ringside tradition since 1999, were Scott “The Rage” Gecas from Simplex Investments and Ben “The Lemon Drop” Lemon from Citadel. Gecas defeated Lemon to break their Ringside tie in this, their third match up. Reflecting the spirit and selflessness of the men who give 100% inside the ring each year to help create the most entertaining charity event in Chicago, Lemon remarked, “It’s not about us, it’s about the kids.”

Ringside raised funds through the sale of tables, auction items and tickets to a $10,000 cash raffle, as well as through charitable gaming, a new feature of this year’s event. This year’s silent auction featured an expanded wine section, sponsored by the Wine Huntress, as well as rare sports memorabilia, travel and entertainment packages, and home and holiday fixtures. Online pre-bidding and electronic bidding made participation easy.

Ten lucky winners are getting ready to see the world after placing the winning bids in Ringside’s live auction. Held in the Grand Ballroom, the auction featured luxury travel and entertainment packages that were difficult-to-impossible to get anywhere else. From a 10-day tour of New Zealand to an 8-day tour of Costa Rica, from golfing in Ireland to going behind the scenes at the Indy 500 with the Rahal-Letterman racing team, this year’s live auction had something for the most discerning traveler.

Ringside guests enjoyed fine dining in the elegant atmosphere of the Marriott’s Grand Ballroom and dancing to live music by the City Lights Orchestra. Mercy Home board member and CBS2 Chicago anchor Jim Williams served once again as emcee, and the Chicago Luvabulls cheerleaders provided a dramatic opening for the event reminiscent of a Bulls pre-game introduction at the United Center. Former WBA Lightweight Champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini also addressed the audience as this year’s celebrity boxing guest, urging guests to support the good work of Mercy Home.

Ringside for Mercy’s Sake began in 1992 as a unique collaboration between the leadership of Chicago’s financial exchanges and today has grown to include boxers from companies across the financial industry.

A short photo gallery from this year’s Ringside for Mercy’s Sake appears below. Click here to see a full gallery of photos from the event.

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