It's entertainment, baby! You love my black ass! 'Cause I'm exciting!
- Don King
Don King is a boxing promoter. In fact, one could even say that he's *the* boxing promoter. At the very least, from my vantage point up in Canada, he is a household name, whereas no other boxing promoter is remotely famous. Hell, the man even has a Simpsons character who's a parody of him.
So what's he do? Well, his company will arrange for a fight between two boxers. He'll get the venue, do all the advertising, work out a deal for pay-per-view, and keep all the proceeds.
Well, ok, he doesn't keep *all* the proceeds, the two fighters involved do tend to make a fair bit of coin out of it. It does however seem that he keeps more than his fair share of it.
He may not even be the most active boxing promoter in the world, but there is no doubt that he is the most flamboyant individual involved in the sport, with his well tailored suits, his afro that sticks almost straight up, and his loud boisterous method of speaking that almost defies description. In addition, I would say that he responsible for a majority of the unsavoury reputation that the sport currently has.
For those out of you out there saying this and that, remember this: there've been many boxers to enter the ring, but there's only one king.
- Don King
Born on December 9, 1932, Don King got his start out in Cleveland, Ohio, as a petty criminal. He ran numbers, which if you didn't know means that he ran some form of illegal gambling, generally referring to a lottery. I couldn't really find exactly which type of gambling he indulged in, but that really doesn't matter.
In 1954, a trio of guys attempted to rob his gaming house, so he shot one of them dead. Fortunately for him, it was ruled a justifiable homicide.
Then, in 1966, he pistol-whipped to death a man who owed him $600. For this crime, he was convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in jail.
It is after he got out of prison that he embarked on his rise to the top of the the boxing business. At the time, boxing didn't have any major black promoters, whereas quite a number of the better boxers were black.
King first really hit fame in 1974, when he arranged for the fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in Zaire, The Rumble in the Jungle. This fight had a prize split between the two fighters of $10 million USD, an amount unheard of at the time. It was televised, and watched by over 1 billion people worldwide.
He soon followed this up with 1975's final bout between Ali and Joe Frazier, The Thrilla in Manila, which also was seen by over 1 billion people.
Throughout the years, Don King has represented quite a number of boxers, including:
During this time he has broken and rebroken a number of records, having promoted 4 of the top 5 pay-per-view events, making Mike Tyson the highest paid boxer in the world, and been named the Boxing Promoter of the Millennium by the World Boxing Association in 1999.
Oh, and it was also him who arranged the fight where Mike Tyson bit off a hunk of Evander Holyfield's ear
Y'all probably blame me for that. If it were Bob Aram, you'd say, 'There was nothing he could do.' But you blame me, black devil motherfucker. Let me tell you something: Tyson will be heavyweight champ again. And this time, you'll pay twice as much to see it. Why? Because y'all part of the same hypocrisy.
- Don King, Re: Tyson biting Holyfield
I make more money with Don King stealing from me than 100 percent from other promoters.
- Larry Holmes
His manslaughter case, however, was hardly the end of his involvement with the legal system. He has been in and out of civil court throughout his career.
On two separate occasions, after having been acquitted of charges against him, King paid for the juries to take trips to see a fight of his, including some spending money. This happened after a 1984 income tax evasion case, and in an insurance fraud case in 1998, when he has supposedly claimed $350,000 USD of expenses that he hadn't actually incurred leading up to a fight that was cancelled. King always insures his events with Lloyd's of London, so that if they are cancelled, he won't have to take the hit for the expenses himself.
Lloyd's of London has since filed against him in civil court to recover those funds, plus expenses.
He also supposedly bilks his fighters, like after a 1980 fight between Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes, Ali sued King for shortchanging him $1.2 million USD. The suit was later settled for $50,000 USD.
Tim Witherspoon once won a settlement against King, for $900,000. And supposedly Tim has yet to see very much of that money. Mike Tyson has sued King claiming that King owes the boxer over $100 million USD.
And of course there was the time in 1992, before a Senate committee, King took the 5th amendment when asked about any connections between himself and Mafia crime boss John Gotti.
He's also actively supporting George W. Bush for his 2004 re-election campaign. Take that however you wish.
Anyhow, I don't think Don King's a very good man. But then again, I doubt that a good man *could* succeed in his business. I'm sure boxing was a dirty sport before he came around. He may have just made it moreso. So that's about all I've got to say about him.