Exclusive Interview: Don King

By G. Leon


Exclusive Interview: Don King

King sounds off about Arums $12M bid!

GL: Bob Arum won the purse-bid for Vitali Klitschko-Hasim Rahman. You came in second place at the bid with about a million less. How do you feel about the result of the purse-bid? "I feel that the purse-bid was a collaboration between Shelly Finkel and Bob Arum. It's evident. Bob Arum is one of the most intelligent people I know and there's no way Bob Arum would put up $12M for Rahman and Klitschko unless someone was underwriting the cost and that he had some kind of deal with them. One thing I do appreciate and I applaud Shelly Finkel for his serpentine ways, because he's a master of deceit and lies. I wasn't prepared for Bob Arum's advent. Bob Arum has no heavyweights at all. Bob Arum would never put up $12M for a fight that he has no resiliency in and have no recuperative values for him to go with. Out of the blue Todd DuBoef shows up and bids $12M for the fight and it's utterly ridiculous. I have to smile though so I applaud him too because Bob Arum has exacted something from Shelly Finkel that Shelly Finkel will live to regret. Bob Arum does not come cheap and Bob Arum is going to make them pay by giving some options on future promotions or maybe if he wins maybe they'll become partners or something. But when he loses, all bets will probably be off."

"But I can tell you this, I applaud Shelly Finkel. Now he's the new snake on the block. Bob has always been a snake, but he's a veteran old cagey snake. Now the new snake, the serpentine character of lies, deceit, unscrupulous activity is Shelly Finkel. They did what they did and I applaud them for that. I'm not angry with them because what they did for me was they defined the fight. They put a definition on the fight that says $12M. Up until now, we couldn't get nobody to buy no tickets to these fights with these heavyweights, but that only goes to show that they go through any lengths to knock out Don King. But at the same time they have certified that the heavyweights are worth more money than anybody. With a $12M price from Bob Arum, it gives great verification that the heavyweights are worth something."

"What they did here is, they did the age old thing. They had the big guy and the little guy. They sandwich you in and what you end up with is an oreo cookie in reverse with me in the middle. Had I bid less than what the K2 bid was, Bob Arum would have defaulted on the bid and let it fall back to them and it would be no problem, business as usual. Since I beat out K2 on their bid, then Bob Arum now has to stand up and promote this fight. Naturally Bob Arum will do that but they're going to have to pay a price for that. You ain't just going to walk in with Bob Arum have him put this kind of money on the line and have him walk away after the fight. I'm happy to help Bob Arum get paid and make some money because he was nothing but a shield in this instance, but now he's going to become the reality and he's going to get paid for doing it."

"I had heard rumblings that they were working together, but from all indications they did it very clandestinely and very surreptitiously, but the damned don't cry. By no means am I angry, in fact I'm rather glad because they put a definition to the fight. Anybody who knows Bob Arum, knows he's a smart cagey guy. I call him lonesome Bob. And in order to get lonesome Bob to join any family you've got to pay him. He's not going to come into the game for $12M unless he has some recuperative capabilities. The guy is not in the heavyweight business and the guy comes in cavalierly, knowing not the details of the bid, but yet puts up more money than anybody else for the bid. It's clear as day what it is, it's a block King movement, but if they're going to pay that price it's what they're supposed to do. What they've done for me is, they've put a defintion and a price and a value on the fight and the heavyweight division.

"I've been having a cry to unify this division and have one undisputed champion. Regardless of who the promoter is, because actually Bob is not going to be the promoter and I'm not going to be the promoter, K2 is going to be the promoter. If Bob is going to do more than that, Bob is going to exact something from them. It's not like Bob is a guy you can walk off the street and say come in here and do this for me. He don't operate that way. Just by being who I am gives Bob an in-road to the business and I applaud Shelly Finkel for being able to pull that clutch last second shot.

"But the fat lady hasn't sung yet. Rahman has the opportunity to be David to Klitschko's Goliath. They have won the battle because they'll be able to choose the site but we will win the war because we have the weapons. Courage, heart, valor and hard powerful punching in both hands and we're going to go in there and utilize that power against Klitschko. And once Rock takes care of Klitschko we're going to move forward onto having one unified heavyweight champion. This verifies everything that I was saying about Shelly, it verifies everything I've been saying about lonesome Bob. What we have here is a complete cartharsis, people could see that the heavyweight division is the one people should really be looking at. As the heavyweight divisiongoes, so goes boxing.

"Bob Arum has put the heavyweight division back on the map with a $12M price tag and I'm very appreciative of that."

GL: Even though Rock will be making a lot of money as a result of the purse-bid there's a chance the other side of the fence will look to make him as uncomfortable as possible as far as tickets, travel and hotel accomodations go. Will you see to it that all of that is taken care of for Rock as if you were promoting the fight?

HR: "Rahman and me are together, we're tied at the hip and we're in it to win it. We're not going to give in, we're not going to give up and we're not going to quit. You win and then there's nothing else. We're going to take care of Rock 100%, we're partners, and we're going to do this thing the way it should be done. We're going to bring Rock to the undisputed WBC crown and then put him in with the other champions and end up with one undisputed heavyweight champion of the world."

"Whatever they do and wherever they go, we will echo the words of Marvin Gaye. There ain't no mountain high enough, there ain't no valley low enough, ain't no river wide enough, to keep us from bringing justice and fair play to the heavyweight division, the American public and the world at large.

"We will be there and we're going to make certain that fair play is on top of the table, that's all we care about. They did this particular trickeration here with the purse-bid situation but now the world could see it, because anybody that's anybody will recognize that one of the smartest guys in the business, Bob Arum, doesn't play a $12M card by happenstance on a fight where he has neither of the fighters. It demonstrates how desperate they are to try and stop me and I'm glad because finally they're giving me some recognition and I want to thank them for that. I'm excited as can be, I'm happy as can be and now we'll see how the cookie crumbles and how this fight is promoted.

"All we've got to be ready is show up, fight and win, and that you can rest assured we will do. Rock's going to knock him out."

GL: Do you believe all fight fans should be rooting for Rock to win based on the fact that the chances of us seeing Klitschko unify against any of your champions doesn't look too good?

Don King: "If Rock don't win you won't never see heavyweight unification. You'd see a heavyweight divide and conquer because then they would play against the other heavyweights I have. Unfortunately many don't see the forrest from the trees, so they'll be bribed or corrupted in whatever ways to avoiding having to deal with me. Rock will knock this guy out, but if he doesn't you can be rest assured it will be Klitschko, Klitschko, Klitschko. They won't let any of these other brothers unify and they will find themselves at the dock in the bay when the ship is out to sea. I understand there's a lot riding on Rock.

"And Rock is an American. When you're an American you've got to wave the flag and say America, America, no one could be prouder and if you cannot hear us we'll say it a little louder. This guy is coming out from another place and Americans will support Americans. My rallying cry will be, up in arms, up in arms, the Ukranians are coming the Ukranians are coming! We've got to be able to fight and ward them off to continue to demonstrate that America is the greatest nation in the world and we will continue to fight for America and may Old Glory ever wave. I'm an American and I'm going to be dedicated and committed to supporting Americans. This is a competitive sport and this fight is country versus country. You know I'm going to be calling for Americans, black and white alike to support Hasim Rahman, a true American.

"We're going to be taking on what Ronald Regan used to call the evil empire. They've now been broken up into different various countries, and we're only talking sport. In sport we've got the competitive edge because Americans never quit. When Lamon Brewster knocked out Drago, which was Wladimir Klitschko, they interviewed him and he said Americans don't quit. And that's our battle cry. I know by them playing this clandestine move, it has now become clear that the value of the heavyweights has been restored.

"Lonesome Bob rides in on a big white stallion, comes in and swings his Excalibur and brings value back to the heavyweight division, I just want to thank him for that."

GL: You recently won a purse-bid for Byrd to fight DaVarryl Williamson. I heard the winning bid was $500,000. Obviously that's significantly less than Byrd's minimum. What can you tell us about Byrd-Williamson and that whole situation?

Don King: "I love Byrd, but I must say that I think Byrd has been one of the most misled fighters in the history of boxing. I think he's one of the best heavyweights in the world, I think he's got great talent and great skills, however, he was misled. Old folks say you got to know which side your bread is buttered on and somehow Byrd aberrated from the norm. The purse bid happened and the fight is an uphill struggle, but I think Byrd is one of the great guys in this business and whatever I could do to help him I'm going to try to help him. I just hope this is an eye-opener. Not with resentment and hostility, but with friendship, and zeal, constricting negativeness to its narrowest form. Byrd and I should unify with each other, rededicate ourselves together so that he can have an opportunity to become the heavyweight champion of the world.

"And don't forget, Chris Byrd beat Vitali Klitschko. They almost act as if that does not exist. They get Byrd and blow smoke in his brain and try to get him to fight me in the courtroom instead of the ring. Then he says let it go to the purse-bid and see what the true value was. If I didn't bid, there wouldn't have been no value. I'm certain that we'll work it out as long as we continue to work together. But Chris Byrd must start talking to me himself, not through anyone else but himself like he did do a couple of days ago when we had a very productive meeting. I'm looking forward to discussing what we can do for the betterment of Chris Byrd and his family. I know he has the ambition and talent to rise to the very top of this divison.

"And it's up to Rock to shatter the Klitschko fantasy. With Rock, Lamon Brewster, Chris Byrd and John Ruiz, the public will have one undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. That's what the people and I will serve them. You cannot lead the people unless you can become a servant of the people first. And that's why I'm here in Chicago trying to make something out of nothing.

"Thanks to Bob Arum and that clandestine operation we have a new value to the heavyweight division. I'm just very happy because knocks are just  boosts if you have faith and believe in God. All they've done is help us recognize how great God is.

GL: Does Arum winning the purse-bid make it more difficult for you to find a place for Byrd-Williamson?

Don King: "No! Not at all. It has no bearing on Byrd-Williamson. I will be able to do something for Byrd-Williamson whether we find a location or not. I'm just happy that we can do the fight. What Bob Arum did today along with the little snake Shelly, they helped immeasurably. You have these fights, the public isn't buying them and then for a fight that's been told to me won't sell no tickets or PPV, now out of the blue, Bob Arum bids $12M and there's something wrong with that picture. For a guy who's a Harvard Graduate that understands this business as well as anyone in this business, puts up $12M for something that's supposed to be an in house loser. Had Bob Arum not bid the $12M I would have won with the $11M they would have been saying Don King is crazy. If they're going to take that position that just means Bob Arum is crazier. I understand what they have done and what I say to them is forgive them father for they know not what they doeth.

Editors Note: King's cell phone cut off so we were unable to ask any further questions.


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