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Donald "Don" King promoter.
Donald "Don" King
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, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Julio César Chávez, Andrew Golota, Félix Trinidad, Roy Jones Jr. and Marco Antonio Barrera.
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. King was convicted of second degree murder for the second killing in 1966 after he was found guilty of killing an employee, Sam Garrett. 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. King was later pardoned for the crime in 1983 by Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes, with letters from Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, George Voinovich, Art Modell, and Gabe Paul, among others, being written in support of King.
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". 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.
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 Go³ota, 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.
Outside of boxing, he also managed the Jacksons' 1984 Victory Tour.
King was elected to the Gaming Hall of Fame in 2008.