Who is Don King?
Don King is an American boxing promoter who has a net worth of $150 million as of 2024. He is known for promoting some of the biggest fights in boxing history, including the “Rumble in the Jungle” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974 and the “Bite Fight” between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield in 1997.
Don King was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1931. He attended school there and graduated from John Adams High School in 1951. After dropping out of Kent State University, he ran an illegal bookmaking operation out of the basement of a record store on Kinsman Road.
In 1954, King was involved in a shooting that resulted in the death of Hillary Brown. King claimed that Brown was attempting to rob one of his gambling houses and that he shot him in self-defense. The case was ruled a justifiable homicide.
Thirteen years later, in 1967, King was convicted of second-degree murder for the death of Sam Garrett. Garrett was an employee of King’s who owed him $600. King was found guilty of stomping Garrett to death.
King was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison. He served his term at the Marion Correctional Institution, where he began to educate himself. He read everything he could get his hands on in the prison library.
King was released from prison in 1972. In 1983, he was pardoned by Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes. The pardon was supported by letters from a number of prominent figures, including Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, George Voinovich, Art Modell, and Gabe Paul.
After his release from prison, King became a successful boxing promoter. He promoted some of the biggest fights in boxing history, including the “Rumble in the Jungle” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974 and the “Bite Fight” between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield in 1997.
Don King was born on August 20, 1931. As of 2024, he is 91 years old.
Don King’s wife, Henrietta, passed away on December 2, 2010, at the age of 87. They had one biological daughter, Debbie, a son, Eric, and adopted son Carl, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
King is politically active and supported Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. However, in the 2004 election, he had made media appearances promoting George W. Bush, which had included attendance at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City.
He has an estimated Net worth of $150 million.
Don 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. He soon formed a partnership with a local promoter named Don Elbaum, who 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, which became known as “The Rumble in the Jungle.” The fight was a much-anticipated event, and King was able to secure the then-record $10 million purse through an arrangement with the government of Zaire.
King also arranged Ali’s 1975 fight against journeyman Chuck Wepner, which is widely believed to have inspired Sylvester Stallone to write the screenplay for Rocky (1976).
King solidified his position as one of boxing’s preeminent promoters the following year with the third fight between Ali and Joe Frazier in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, which King dubbed the “Thrilla in Manila.” In addition to promoting the premier heavyweight fights of the 1970s, King was also busy expanding his boxing empire. Throughout the decade, he compiled an impressive roster of fighters, many of whom would finish their career with Hall of Fame credentials.
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 López, Félix Trinidad, Terry Norris, Carlos Zárate, Azumah Nelson, Andrew Gołota, Mike McCallum, Gerald McClellan, Meldrick Taylor, Marco Antonio Barrera, Tomasz Adamek, John Ruiz, and Ricardo Mayorga are some of the boxers who chose King to promote many of their biggest fights.
Outside of boxing, King was the concert promoter for The Jacksons’ 1984 Victory Tour. In 1998, he purchased a Cleveland-based weekly newspaper serving the African American community in Ohio, the Call and Post, and as of 2011 continued as its publisher.
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