Somehow, somewhere, boxing is coming to South Florida; Don King cites Office Depot Center in Sunrise, FL as tops of three choices for venue
Don King's November schedule seems as endless as the miles he's traveled in delivering 14,000 turkeys to the needy in five different states. While in West Palm Beach, FL on Thursday, however, there was a message that went with the gifts to the impoverished: Boxing will get to South Florida as long as the hair on his head is still standing.
"We're going to do this thing if we have to put chairs out in a field somewhere," King told the media Thursday. "If Office Depot steps up to the plate, then that place will become the most important building in the world."
As usual with the boxing promoter, he isn't just waiting for Office Depot or his other two potential venues "The American Airlines Arena and the Miami Arena" to step forward with a "yes." Instead, he's got the fight already lined up and his brain is on fast forward times twelve.
"Corey Spinks and Zab Judah will fight for the welterweight championship of the world," King said.
It'll be a rematch; the two fought earlier this spring with Spinks taking the belt in a decision. In true King fashion, however, he's already searching his memory banks for heavyweight fights and a diverse card that "like all of his fights" will pack the arena. Some arena.
"We want to do this; I think the time has come," he said. "We'll bring people from all over the world because I'll bring in heavyweights with this. We'll bring (Ricardo) Mayorga back into the fold again in the welterweights, we"ll bring a lot of Latinos and Spaniards back on the show.
"The main thing is, it will be a new building we'll be going into. It will be a new building we can build to reach out to everyone. They'll get a chance to see the great state of Florida "the foliage, the scenic ocean, the intercoastal. They can ride up in boats, come down in airplanes, they can walk. Florida is the oasis; it's one of God's Gardens in this great nation called America."
King's original dream was to turn a Jai Alai Fronton Center in West Palm as the site, but lacking investors he has put that on hold while putting his time into an already-existing place.
Boxing's air traffic controller also sees a major benefit in bringing the sport to a state that was nailed with four hurricanes in a seven week period earlier this year. King feels that, if boxing comes to the area, an economy just might break out.
"What I want to do is bring this in for economics, for better goods and services to the bus boys, the waiters, the restaurateurs, the boutiques, the department stores "they all benefit. You bring all these people in here, that means recycling of the dollar and that helps the indigenous inhabitants."
His economic vision isn't just a smooth flowing of words. Tickets can run anywhere from $75 to $1,500 depending on the size and location of the bout. An Oscar De LaHoya fight brought in $7 million to Las Vegas in non-game income early last year. King fights have often taken in 14 to 15 million in gate alone, according to VIP of King Enterprises Bobby Goodman. And, according to the Las Vegas Convention Authority's Kevin Bagger, the average person will spend $638 during a "fight weekend", and this wasn't including the gambling.
It's the boxing revenue, the tourist trade, the locals and the foreign converging on a common site that all combine to ring up the cash registers "and this isn't mentioning the advertising dollars and the cable network possibilities. In fact, entrepreneurs during "fight weekends" have expressed similar sentiments of a cab driver during last summer's Mayorga-Vernon Forest fight in Vegas.
"I wish there was a fight every weekend," he said.
King is and will continue to envision his dream and he sees the Office Depot Center as a potential "connecting point" that could find America waking up and seeing South Florida all across the air waves.
"The Office Depot Center has never had a boxing match," he said. "It'll be the point of no return. Once you get here, you"re going to be hooked and addicted. You're not going to want to leave. It'll be a recurring event.
"If they (Office Depot) seize the time, then we're going to put on something on February 5th that will be second to none."