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Don King: The Good and The Bad

Updated on December 8, 2016

Mr. Promoter

Don King has promoted boxing events since the early 1970s and he is still going strong over 40 years later.
Don King has promoted boxing events since the early 1970s and he is still going strong over 40 years later. | Source

The King Before Boxing Don

Don King was born in 1931 in Cleveland, Ohio. King started the street life by becoming a numbers runner and he operated a bookmaking market underground from the law. As a young man, Don King killed two men, one was ruled to be justified while the other ended up convicting him of manslaughter. Controversy is always just one step away from Don King.

Is Don King a criminal? You should study the facts and decide for yourself. The first person Don King killed happened in 1953. It was ruled justifiable homicide. The fact is, Don King shot a man in the back and he died. In 1966, Mr. King was convicted of second degree murder but, it as eventually reduced to manslaughter. Don King actually stomped this man to death and supposedly it was over a gambling debt. Don King did not just have people hurt he did the hurting by himself.

Top Boxers Don King Promoted

Muhammad Ali
Mike Tyson
Evander Holyfield
Larry Holmes
George Foreman
Terry Norris
Felix Trinidad
Julio Cesar Chavez
Hector Camacho
 
Roberto Duran
 
This is 10 of the best boxers that Don King has promoted in his very long career with the sport of boxing.

Who is the Best?

Who is the best Promoter in boxing history?

See results

Don King with Muhammad Ali

Don King promoted many of Ali's biggest bouts including "The Rumble in the Jungle" and "The Thrilla in Manilla".
Don King promoted many of Ali's biggest bouts including "The Rumble in the Jungle" and "The Thrilla in Manilla". | Source

Don King on Amazon

Don King and Iron Mike Tyson

Don King promoted Mike Tyson for the majority of his professional boxing career.
Don King promoted Mike Tyson for the majority of his professional boxing career. | Source

King In Boxing: 70s

Don King convinced Muhammad Ali to host a charity boxing match and that was that. King got a hold of Ali, the biggest name in boxing. Ali was just the beginning for King who began to pull even with boxing's top promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank. King did not just sell a bout he was always selling himself too, sometimes even more so. Spiked hair, gold and diamonds all over and his over the top press conferences. This is when King cut his teeth in the sport and he gnawed away at his competition until he became the top dog.

Don King Promoted Muhammad Ali in the 1970s but in that decade he also promoted Larry Holmes, Roberto Duran, Wilfredo Gomez, Wilfred Benitez, George Foreman, Joe Frazier and Salvador Sanchez just to name a few. King promoted the biggest bouts of the 70s including "The Rumble in the Jungle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman and "The Thrilla in Manilla" which was Ali and Joe Frazier part three.

King in Boxing: 80s

Donald King still had promotional contracts with several of his boxers from the 70s entering into the 80s. Larry Holmes and Roberto Duran, just to name two legends. I always thought it was hilarious when Don King would get off topic and start talking about The Bible or a person from history such as Napoleon.

Don King had a huge stable of prizefighters during the 1980s but this is the best of the bunch. Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Carlos Zarate, Mike McCallum, Aaron Pryor and Azumah Nelson. King really started talking once Muhammad Ali retired. Man, King can hype a match.

Don King and Donald Trump

Don King introduced Donald Trump at a rally in 2016.
Don King introduced Donald Trump at a rally in 2016. | Source

King in Boxing: 90s

Don King continued to Promote Iron Mike Tyson and J.C. Chavez but, he also gathered a new stable of talent, many of whom ended up in the Hall of Fame. Don King was a master at naming his fight cards and promoting them with colorful and outlandish statements about the fighters. He was involved in most of the top Heavyweight title fights in this decade including Tyson vs Holyfield and the rematch.

In the 1990s, Don King had contracts on Evander Holyfield, Felix Trinidad, Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones, Ricardo Lopez and Terry Norris among nearly a hundred other champions and contenders. Don King promoted PPV cards that has 4, 5 and sometimes 6 world title fights during the decade.

Don King

Only in America

Don King on Late Night (Video)

Boxing Promoter Ranking

Cast your vote for Don King

King in Boxing: 2000s

Don King still had Holyfield and Chavez but, he also got some other boxers even though he began to slow down slightly with age he still managed to fly to other countries and of course all around America, hence his namesake.

King King promoted John Ruiz, Hasim Raham, Bermane Sterverne, Marco Antonio Barrera and Ricardo Mayorga and a slew of other boxers during this era. King has been accused of being the promoter and the manager of many f his boxers by allowing his son to be these fighters manager of record. This is one of the reasons congress voted yes for "The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act".

Ving Rhames as Donald King

Ving Rhames starred as Don King in the HBO film called "Only in America".
Ving Rhames starred as Don King in the HBO film called "Only in America". | Source

Birthplace of Don King (Cleveland, Ohio)

Top Don King Book and Controversy Surrounding King

Only in America: The Life & Crimes of Don King by Jack Newfield

Don King has been sued by Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes, Tim Witherspoon, Lennox Lewis, Muhammad Ali, and Terry Norris among many others.

Let's not forget that Don King organized a heavyweight tournament in the early 80s and it was found that he fixed the boxer's rankings and some other wrong doings as well. King is largely responsible for boxing leaving free TV.

Don King was F.B.I. investigated for possible Mafia/Cosa Nostra ties to Gambino crime boss John Gotta in the early 1990s.


Don King and Bermane Stiverne

Bermane Stiverne is the former heavyweight champion of the world and a part of Don King's stable of fighters.
Bermane Stiverne is the former heavyweight champion of the world and a part of Don King's stable of fighters. | Source

Don King and Hollywood

Don King played as himself in "Devil's Advocate" and several documentary films as well. He has been on everything from cartoons like The Simpsons and Family Guy to shows like Miami Vice, In Living Color and Arliss.

Don King Getting Dissed (Video)

Don King's Top Awards

1. International Boxing Hall of Fame:1997

2. Gaming Hall of Fame: 2008

3. Street in Cleveland named Don King Way: 2016

© 2016 Buster Johnson

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