Don King (boxing promoter): Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don King

Don King in 2007
Born August 20, 1931 (1931-08-20) (age 78)
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Nationality American
Occupation Boxing promoter

Donald "Don" King (born August 20, 1931) is an American boxing promoter particularly known for his hairstyle and flamboyant personality. His career highlights include promoting "The Rumble in the Jungle" and the "Thrilla in Manila", as well as orchestrating the ascent of Mike Tyson. King has promoted some of the most prominent names in boxing, including Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Julio César Chávez, Andrew Golota, Félix Trinidad, Roy Jones Jr. and Larry Holmes.


Early life

Don King was born in Cleveland, Ohio. After dropping out of Kent State University, he ran an illegal bookmaking operation, and was charged for killing two men in separate incidents 13 years apart. The first was determined to be justifiable homicide after it was found that King shot Hillary Brown in the back and killed him while he was attempting to rob one of King's gambling houses.[1] King was convicted of second degree murder for the second killing in 1966 after he was found guilty of stomping to death an employee, Sam Garrett, who owed him $600.[1] In an ex parte meeting with King's attorney, the judge reduced King's conviction to nonnegligent manslaughter for which King served just under four years in prison.[2]


King entered the boxing world after convincing Muhammad Ali to box in a charity exhibition for a local hospital in Cleveland with the help of singer Lloyd Price. Early on he formed a partnership with a local promoter named Don Elbaum, who already had a stable of fighters in Cleveland and years of experience in boxing.

In 1974, King negotiated to promote a heavyweight championship fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire, popularly known as "The Rumble in the Jungle."[3] The fight between Ali and Foreman was a much-anticipated event. King's rivals all sought to promote the bout, but King was able to secure the then-record $10 million purse through an arrangement with the Zaire government.

King solidified his position as one of boxing's preeminent promoters the following year with the third fight between Ali and Joe Frazier in Manila,[4] the capital of the Philippines, which King deemed the "Thrilla In Manila."[3] Aside from promoting the premier heavyweight fights of the 1970s, King was also busy expanding his boxing empire. Throughout the decade, he compiled an impressive roster of fighters, many of whom would finish their career with Hall of Fame credentials. Fighters like Larry Holmes, Wilfred Benítez, Roberto Durán, Salvador Sánchez, Wilfredo Gómez, and Alexis Argüello would all fight under the Don King Productions promotional banner in the 1970s.

For the next two decades, King continued to be among boxing's most successful promoters. Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Julio César Chávez, Aaron Pryor, Bernard Hopkins, Ricardo Lopez, Félix Trinidad, Terry Norris, Carlos Zarate, Azumah Nelson, Andrzej Gołota, Mike McCallum, Gerald McClellan, Meldrick Taylor, Marco Antonio Barrera and Ricardo Mayorga are some of the boxers who chose King to promote many of their biggest fights.[5]

Outside of boxing, he also managed the Jacksons' 1984 Victory Tour.[6]

King was elected to the Gaming Hall of Fame in 2008.[7]


Don King has been a lightning rod for controversy throughout his career. He has been the subject of several lawsuits by boxers he managed who alleged that they were forced to hire King's relatives and cronies.[citation needed] He has faced charges of tax evasion by the IRS. Rumors of jury-tampering have swirled around him.[citation needed] And it also became known that the rights to pay-per-view fights he promoted were awarded to organized crime figures, some of whom may have known King from his book-making days.[citation needed]

King has been investigated for possible connections with organized crime. During a 1992 Senate investigation King pleaded the Fifth Amendment when questioned about his connection to mobster John Gotti. In public, however, he has responded to mob allegations by calling them racist.

Mike Tyson, the former Unified World Heavyweight Boxing Champion says of his former manager, King: "(King is) a wretched, slimy, reptilian mother--. This is supposed to be my 'black brother' right? He's just a bad man, a really bad man. He would kill his mother for a dollar. He's ruthless, he's deplorable, he doesn't know how to love anybody."[8]


Lawsuits and fraud prosecutions filed against King

King has been involved in several litigation cases with boxers that were focused on fraud. They include a 1980 trial in which Muhammad Ali sued King for underpaying him $1.2 million for a fight with Larry Holmes. Ali settled for $50,000. Tim Witherspoon sued King and won $900,000. Mike Tyson sued King for $100 million, alleging the boxing promoter cheated him out of millions over more than a decade.[9] It was settled out of court for $14 million.[10]

In May 2005, King was sued by Lennox Lewis, who wanted $385 million from the promoter, claiming King used threats to pull Tyson away from a rematch with Lewis. Terry Norris settled a lawsuit out of court against Don King for breach of contract for $7.5 million. In early 2006, Chris Byrd sued Don King for breach of contract and the two eventually settled out of court under the condition that Byrd would be released from his contract with King.[11]

On September 3, 2009, boxer Ricardo Mayorga filed a suit against King, alleging that the promoter has failed to arrange boxing matches for him. The federal suit, filed in Miami, also alleges violations of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act: Mayorga says King set up a conflict of interest when he appointed his son, Carl King, as Mayorga's manager.[12]

Lloyd's of London

Insurance company Lloyd's of London sued King for $350,000, claiming insurance fraud in a Julio César Chávez fight that was canceled. King was charged with insurance fraud by the U.S. Justice Department. The judge declared a mistrial after a hung jury in 1995, and he was acquitted on a retrial in 1998.[citation needed]

Personal life

King's family consists of his wife, Henrietta, daughter Debbie, and sons, Carl and Eric. He has five grandchildren. King is politically active and made media appearances promoting George W. Bush during the 2004 U.S. presidential election, which included attendance at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.

Popular culture

King has become a prominent figure in American media. King is well known for his hairstyle. In a 1993 interview with Jet magazine, King said that he uses Aqua Net hair spray and a comb to style his coif every day.


King frequently appears on talk shows including Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Howard Stern Show to promote fights. He has been portrayed by Dave Chappelle in a skit about a "Gay America", promoting a boxing match between two homosexual boxers. In 1995, HBO aired Tyson, a television movie based upon the life of Mike Tyson. King was portrayed by actor Paul Winfield. A 1996 episode of The Simpsons featured a boxing promoter named Lucius Sweet (voiced by Winfield), described by Homer Simpson as being "exactly as rich and as famous as Don King and he looks just like him too!"[citation needed] In 1997, actor Ving Rhames played King in a made for TV movie, Don King: Only in America which aired on HBO.[13] Rhames won a Golden Globe award for his portrayal of King.[14] In a 1998 episode of South Park, titled "Damien", Jesus and Satan are to have a boxing match to decide the conflict between good and evil, and Don King represents Satan.

In the episode "My Brother's Keeper" of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Carlton is portrayed as Don King in one of Will's dreams. On an episode of Boy Meets World, Cory is having really bad hair problems, and his hair is similar to Don King's. One kid even made fun of Cory by saying, "Hey look, it's Don King." In Celebrity Deathmatch, Don King Kongs's death was a running gag during the series' first season. In the final episode of the second season, he was matched against Donald Trump, with King being killed again, this time in the ring.[15]

In New Zealand a popular Sunday morning kids program What Now was known for its Don King skit. The actor (Jason Fa'afoi) would appear in front of a grey screen dressed as Don King and begin every skit with "Hi I'm Donk Ing...and you're not" before advertising some useless product.

In the episode Knock It Off of Pucca series, Don King was parodied by the character Muji. The villain was watching a fight between Garu and Abyo in a boxing ring and he had Don King's hair.


King is well known for his flamboyant patriotism, making references to America and what he perceives as its greatness during almost every recorded conversation. In recent years (particularly after the attacks of September 11, 2001) he has become known for wearing his signature denim jacket that is stenciled with patriotic emblems, and waving American flags while being interviewed.


In the feature film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, the Daimyo emerges from a bell struck by a cannonball with his hair sticking straight up. Donatello says, "Hey, look — Don King!" The character of flashy boxing promoter George Washington Duke, played by Richard Gant in the film Rocky V, is based on King and uses his famous catchphrase, "Only in America!" King acted in a small role as more or less himself in 1982's The Last Fight and in the 1985 comedy Head Office. He also had another brief cameo as himself in the 1997 movie The Devil's Advocate. James Earl Jones portrayed a flamboyant boxing promoter in the 1984 made-for-television movie The Las Vegas Strip War, named Jack Madrid, whose character was clearly inspired by Don King. In the movie, Scary Movie 4, a man similar to Don King falls on the son of the antagonist. In The Great White Hype, Samuel L. Jackson's character The Sultan is a reflection of Don King, demonstrating the level of despair induced by Don King's control over both boxers and the sport itself.

Don King makes an appearance in the 2008 documentary, Beyond the Ropes.[16]

Video games

In the Xbox video game Jade Empire a character named Qui The Promoter is based on Don King, including personality and his speech patterns. In the game ABC Wide World of Sports Boxing the top manager is reminiscent of King. Also, Don King helped create a video game called Don King Presents: Prizefighter for the Xbox 360 and another called Don King Boxing for the Wii.[17][18] There is also a Nintendo DS version of Don King Boxing.


External links


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