Advocate sportswriter Ted Lewis conducts a Q&A with boxing promoter legend Don King | Sports

In his 90 years, Don King has served time for manslaughter and dined with three presidents. He promoted some of the most famous fights in boxing history, including “The Rumble in the Jungle,” and “The Thrilla in Manila,” featuring Muhammad Ali. He’s also been sued by several of his fighters, including Ali. King’s latest boxing show takes place Saturday when Jonathan Guidry of Dulac challenges WBA heavyweight champion Trevor Bryan. Ted Lewis of the Times-Picayune/The Advocate talked to the always-loquacious King about his long career in boxing and other matters. Their conversation has edited for conciseness and clarity:

Why should people pay $49.99 to watch this fight?

Because this is history in the making. Yesterday’s nobody is tomorrow’s somebody, and this is the land of opportunity. You’re going to see two world title fights on the card, but the heavyweight title fight itself between Jonathan Guidry and Trevor Bryan should make it worth it to the fans in Louisiana to see one of their own win fame, acclaim and affluence by winning the heavyweight title. That would be something tremendous. They might not know young Guidry today, but they will know him tomorrow, just like they did with my friend Lloyd Price down there in New Orleans. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, let the good times roll!

You’re 90, an age when most people have long since retired. When are you ever going to slow down?

When I get to heaven. The gangsters blew up my car and my house. I am fighting a crooked system. I am a cat with nine lives. I have been challenged nine times and I am still standing. If I slow down, God will call me home. He has a reason for me to still be here.

How’s your 90-year-old hair holding up?

It’s unreal. It’s standing up pristine strong and rising to the heavens.

You were once the most powerful person in boxing and now you’re not. Do you ever miss those days?

No, I don’t because I’m still at the top. I started at the top with Muhammad Ali and never left. But now I put on fights because of my love of the people, especially fighting for the underprivileged, the downtrodden and denied. The forgotten people won’t be forgotten any longer.

Of all the fighters you have managed and promoted, who was your favorites?

You have to understand two things. First, Muhammad Ali puts me in the business. And at the height of his career he was willing to go to the penitentiary for his beliefs. But there was a youngster growing up after him named Larry Holmes. Larry Holmes had one of the best jabs of all time and he worked from humble beginnings to becoming champion and maintaining that championship for several years. The Easton Assassin was a great champion and a great person. Larry Holmes is like a son to me.

What do you see as your place in boxing history? Do you have any regrets?

I believe in God and God has taken care of me. I live for the day when all people are clothed in dignity. That is what I want to remembered for — not for how much money I made or how hard it was to make it because of where I came from. On my tombstone I want it written that he fought for the dignity of men and women. I am a promoter of the people, for the people and by the people. Innovation and imagination are my tools and working together for a better America is my goal. I feel good about all of the things I have promoted and have nothing to say negatively about any of them.

You supported Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. Do you think he will run again in 2024?

I sure hope he does. With Donald Trump, what you see is what you get. What we have there now is weakness, especially with what’s happening at the border. People are flowing in like water without being tested. And the illegal immigrants are being treated better than the indigenous American citizens. And then what they did in Afghanistan was just horrible in what it showed about our loyalty to our allies. Our word means nothing. Biden was supposed to be the savior. But you be the judge. Seeing what is happening to our country is horrible. There is nothing but hatred and divisiveness among our people. I hope and pray Donald Trump becomes out president again and I wish he still was now.

Do you still believe in “Only in America?”

Yes indeed. This is the greatest country in the world, and don’t you forget it!

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