The law of inverse relationships: markets are up and necklines are down. That appeared to be the case as Hong Kong's financiers and significant others dressed to the nines and made their way to Happy Valley racecourse to witness the third Hedge Fund Fight Nite in aid of charities Operation Smile and Operation Breakthrough.
It was a sell-out crowd in the tent and if anyone had second thoughts about the appropriate mood, it was delineated by the shots of Jose Cuervo that attended each table setting.
In the first bout, Benoit Descourtieux was defeated on points by Nomura's Jesse Kavanagh, a recent survivor of cancer and heart surgery. "La Tornade" was worn down by "Happy Feet" Kavanagh's persistent barrage, and his dancing did indeed wear down Descourtieux.
The fighters have been training for months, but in the last few weeks have been even more abstinent in their personal habits.
"For the last three weeks it has been very tough," said Descourtieux after the fight.
"I'm glad it's all over," said his charming companion.
Descourtieux, in his velvet jacket, plus friend, disappeared from the venue immediately thereafter and missed the fighters final line-up. Honours go to him though for writing the best programme bio. If he ever wants to stop being a low-paid hedge fund manager and be a journalist for HK$25,000 a month, the door is always open.
John Crane outpointed Justin Jones of Link-ICAP on a split judge's decision, and paid diplomatic tribute to his boss at 3A. The call generated some boos from the crowd: Jones is a lanky, likable lug from Wales who had the misfortunate to not beat the evening's elder statesman: American "Headcount Reduction" Crane is 49.
George Sobek of UBS had promised to launch some "'hurtin' bombs", but instead got a hard fingering from Chris "Fingers" Auckland, who won on points. This was easily the most physical fight of the first half. Despite some comments from the tables that a headhunter (Auckland) could never beat a broker, Fingers showed determination and style and the judges gave him his due.
The auction raised approximately HK$700,000 for the charities, one lot, a gourmet meal donated by Links Concept for twelve being knocked down for over a hundred grand to Toby Bland, who will be taking his family, friends, toadies and flatterers on a free-flow Kristal nosh-up.
Let us just meditate a moment on Toby Bland, still the legend of Fight Nite for his super-heavyweight performance in the first Ding Dong in Hong Kong iteration in 2007 against Adam Upton. Toby Bland is one of the most successfully performing hedge fund managers in Hong Kong, and dare one say the most handsome, and generous.
Between fights the crowd was entertained by a troupe of teenage girls from Operation Breakthrough, a charity which seeks to alleviate poverty and help those from difficult backgrounds. They are liberated from their issues through the medium of dance, and performed for the Happy Valley audience in their scants.
The event was sponsored by Thomson Reuters and wine distributor Links Concept, who made sure that the media table (along with only two other tables) received the vintage wine and Louis Roederer champagne.
The fourth fight was an agricultural war of roundhouse haymakers between James Bryan of Execuzen and Terry Koon of Zurich International. Poor Terry, the sole Hong Konger in the event, got his clock cleaned and it was the only stoppage of the night, but he won the crowd and received generous applause for his effort.
In the fifth bout, the red corner of HK Jockey Club's Jacco Klip was clapped on by a forest of 'thunder sticks' and chants of Ooooooeii Jacoo!! wielded by his faithful colleagues. However, they hadn't bargained on Jacques "Sugarbok" Scherman, and had they known what this correspondent knows, they would have realized the red corner's chances were muted. Sugarbok Scherman owns Hong Kong's largest collection of training shoes - all well used. Strutting around the swimming pool last weekend, the South Africa's biceps stood out like polished softballs. A points loss ensued for "The punching Dutchman" Klip.
In the final fight, Steve Davidson eked out a points victory over Bruce French of UBS. The IT man beat the hedge fund salesman. Although the heavyweight fight, it was less a slugfest than a chase across the canvas, although by this time after all of that Louis Roederer, your correspondent's observation skills had become somewhat unreliable.
Throughout the fights, the low necklines and bosoms in attendance heaved with sighs of admiration as the chiselled fighters paraded their huge delts and massive quads [a LOT of Louis Roederer - editor].
The final mention though must go to one sidelined boxer, whom a spokeswoman for Ironmonger Events (the event organizers) said was so good and naturally gifted in boxing, that he couldn't be matched with any of the others. His name is Sebastien Alfonsi. Hope to see him in the ring next year.