Friday 20th August 2021
Boxing legend Don King turns 90
Before the world career, he killed two people
Not only is Don King one of the most famous names in the world of boxing, he also has one of the most iconic hairstyles on the scene. Even on his 90th birthday, he’s still in the thick of it. In a career that began in dramatic moments.
Don King won’t change anymore. Even at almost 90 years of age, the most unscrupulous puller in the boxing circus does not shy away from a fight. The glamorous promoter legend has just been sued by ex-world champion Mahmoud Charr – it suits King. A disgraceful legal battle over a few million is unlikely to spoil his birthday on this Friday, he has already seen too much for that.
Don King, that’s the loudmouth, the flag-waving man with the world-famous high-voltage hairstyle. This is the man who became the most influential person in professional boxing in the 1970s. And all based on a life story that resembled that of a serious criminal. In 1954, “Mr. Boxing” killed a man who tried to rob his betting shop. He was acquitted for self-defense.
13 years later he beat an employee of his gambling business with the butt of his gun because he owed him money. The man died after five days in a coma. King was punished for life. It was shortened to 15 years. Ultimately, he served three years and eleven months behind bars and was paroled in 1971.
The guarantee of the spectacle
Then he started his second career in the boxing business, which is unparalleled to this day. His breakthrough came in 1974 with the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” when he organized the legendary fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa in what was then Zaire.
He promised both boxers the then unimaginable sum of five million dollars each. He got the money from Zaire’s dictator Mobutu, King had no scruples. The next highlight followed a year later, the “Thrilla in Manila” between Ali and Joe Frazier.
From then on hardly anything went without Don King. He skillfully pulled the strings. If you wanted to go high as a boxer, you had to go to King. He was the guarantee for spectacles, great careers and big money. It didn’t matter that the father of three children withheld money from his fighters, fraud and arguments were part of his business.
“Do you know why he wears his hair so high?”
True to the motto “Put the boxer in before he can put you in,” he made millions of dollars. “King would kill his own mother for a dollar,” said ex-world champion Mike Tyson. “He is ruthless, pitiful, greedy and cannot love anyone.” Larry Holmes found no words of praise either. “Do you know why he wears his hair so high?”, He asked after the separation from King: “He wants to hide the horns …”
The list of his crimes is as long as that of the fights he waged. And that’s well over 200. The most prominent names besides Ali, Frazier and Foreman were Tyson, Holmes and Evander Holyfield. King lured her, gagged her, sucked her – but also always put his protective hands over her.
And while others of his age have long been in the old people’s home, he is still active. Most recently, Charr’s lawsuit against King made headlines. The Cologne-based candidate accuses King and five other parties of “years of preventing fights through non-compliance with agreements and contracts” and demands around 3.9 million euros. He is said to have used trickery to get Charr to be declared the “waiting world champion”. To trust a Don King has always been everything.