Whether you love him or hate him, Don King will definitely go down as one of the most influential figures in the history of boxing, and possibly all of sports period. Don King may no longer be at the forefront of boxing promotions, but he’s still a heavy and visible influence on the game. The man is responsible for bringing us Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s Rumble in the Jungle, and has promoted some of boxing’s elite fighters and personalities like Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Julio César Chávez, Ricardo Mayorga, Andrew Golota, Félix Trinidad, Roy Jones, Jr., Marco Antonio Barrera, Adrian Diaconu, Nikolai Valuev and Joey Hernandez.
The 81-year-old boxing legend is still a mover and shaker in the game, and sat down with BlackSportsOnline to talk about Don King Productions, his new television network, why america is so great, and how Cloud vs. Hopkins takes place Sat., March 9 live on HBO beginning at 9:30pm ET/PT.
BSO: You have kept a low profile up over the past few years. Tell the boxing fans and readers of Black Sports Online what you’ve been doing with yourself and your business, Don King Productions?
DK: Well what I’ve been up to is this, I’m going to launch a network that competes with cable and Direct TV, that allows us to tell the story the way that it really is, and not one that constantly stereotypes black people. What I want to be able to deal with is that stereotype image imbedded into the people of this great nation that all blacks are lazy, steal, don’t want to get a job. That chain has been broken now that we have a black man in the white house.
BSO: How do you feel about the powers that be, that would prefer you not be apart of boxing anymore, or those who dislike your presence in boxing, and work to keep you out?
DK: Glenn, that is normal, they’ve never wanted me in boxing, and it’s always been like that. It was like that when I signed the two greatest athletes in the world, Ali and Foreman to a contract, and brought the world the “Rumble in the Jungle. I couldn’t get the backing to make that fight here in America, so I had to take it across the ocean. It’s always been a struggle, and I have to tell that struggle. What people are doing now is a throwback to former years in the good old days. It’s a struggle and we have to continue to struggle in this great land called America, one land where all men are supposed to be created equal. Yet people are trying everyday to bring this situation back to a yes master, no master situation.
BSO: What are your thoughts and opinions on the state of boxing as it is today?
DK: We need hero’s. Boxing is great because it’s man to man. There are no time-outs, you can’t substitute another fighter. If you run out of gas, you can’t go to a gas station. We have to find hero’s, and they come from the people. We have to find fighters like Muhammad Ali because he stood for something.
BSO: Do see another great American Heavyweight champion in our future?
DK: Matter of fact I’m going to start a competition, sort of like an American Idol, where we are going to go around, myself and other former great American heavyweights, and we are going to go city to city and find the next American heavyweight champion of the world.
BSO: In terms of your legacy, when it’s all said and done, do you wonder how you’ll be remembered by people, how people will talk about the great Don King 20 or 30 years from now?
DK: I live for the day that all people are clothed in dignity. You are not supposed to be judged by the color or pigment of your skin. You are supposed to be judged by your accomplishments. You can be the richest, smartest, and most successful black man, and you’re still going to be black. We have to stop allowing people to allow us as black men to be pitted against one another. Samuel L. Jackson should have won an Oscar for his role as a house n*gga in Django Unchained. We have to break away from selling one another out.
BSO: You have a really good fighter in Tavoris Cloud, where do you see his future head in the sport of boxing?
DK: Well he’s excellent, he’s a mini Tyson. He’s going to evolve into a great, great fighter. He’s fighting the oldest champion in the history of boxing. He’s fighting a masterful fighter, a guy who can pull the greatness out of Tavoris. I think that Tavoris crowd will open the door to destiny when he defeats Bernard Hopkins. Look for an exciting altercation at the Barclay Center in New York on March 9, Brooklyn, the home of Tyson, Cloud has been addicted by the disease of Tysonism.