Catching Up With Don KingPublished by Marcus Vanderberg on Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 12:42 am.
There’s only one Don King.
The legendary promoter is still going strong at the age of 79 with no signs of slowing down.
King chatted with BET.com prior to the Devon Alexander-Timothy Bradley fight on his relationship with fellow promoter Bob Arum and if retirement is in his future.
BET.com: What’s the key to maintaining a career in the boxing industry for as long as you have?
Don King: The key to me is faith in God and working with people. I’m a people promoter; a promoter of the people, for the people. Respect for my fellow American and whoever my partner might be. Aretha Franklin laid it out. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I take the two-by-four out of my eye before I take the splinter out of my brother’s eye.
What was the reasoning behind this fight being held at the Silverdome?
I didn’t select the Silverdome. My partner and co-promoter in this event, Gary Shaw, did. Unfortunately, my wife died at the time of the selection process and I was not really into it. He did it and I applaud him for doing it. He got a great city in Detroit and a city that’s in need. The big three (General Motors, Chrysler, Ford) are coming back. Motown USA, where the biggest thing going in there for us was Berry Gordy, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Supremes. They all had a part of this whole thing in an urban area. The Motown express is on the move and we are reenergizing the Motown express. It’s really picking up steam as we go down to the finish line, which will be on the 29th at the Silverdome.
What has it been like spending so much time with Bob Arum the past week?
It was wonderful. I would never know how good I was if I didn’t have Lonesome Bob on my tail all the time. Coming from two diverse backgrounds … he from Harvard and me from the streets. The ex-convict getting an unconditional pardon from Governor James A. Rhodes. To be back with him again, because he was highly competitive. You know how prosecutors think. They always think they can beat anything. To have a guy like him snipping at my nose … you have to be able to deal with it. It’s a good experience to go back with Lonesome Bob and make things happen.
With Martin Luther King Jr. Day last week, what does it mean to have two young, black undefeated fighters headlining on HBO?
That’s fantastic. I think HBO outdone themselves and I think this is the first time they really have a real show because they have been falling short of the mark because they are not matchmakers. What it is here is you have a great show that nobody can condemn because it stands tall.
Is retirement a word in your vocabulary?
Retirement? What is that? Is it a plane? Is it a bird? People are my retirement. I take great comfort in my relationship with people. The good, the bad and the ugly.