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Don King disses Tyson Fury

By Robert Ecksel on March 9, 2020

Don King2.jpg

New diseases and new languages is something with which King is familiar. (Robert Ecksel)

We’ve not heard the last of Don King. An old-school promoter with one foot in boxing and the other in organized crime, with his flamboyant hair, fluttering flags, and torrential gift of gab, he entertained the masses for many years while dipping into the purses of the fighters he promoted.


As Norman Mailer wrote of King in “The Fight,” “How he could talk… Once when one of his lesser-known fighters hinted that a contract was unsatisfactory and King could get hurt, Don leaned forward—fond was he of telling this story—and said, ‘Let us not bullshit each other. You can leave here, make a call, and have me killed in half an hour. I can pick up the phone as you leave and have you offed in five minutes.’”


Among the fighters King promoted was Muhammad Ali. They had a symbiotic relationship, where one took the punches and the other took the money. But there was only one Muhammad Ali, just is there is only one Don King, and the latter, speaking with Fight Hype, trashed comparisons between “The Greatest” and the new WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, whose promoter is King’s one-time nemesis Bob Arum.


Arum, who could sell ice to Eskimos, has done a masterful job promoting Fury, helped in no small part by Fury himself.


“Tyson has charisma and personality like Ali had,” said Arum. “Ali would be great at delivering his one-liners before fights, which everyone loved. Tyson is always entertaining in what he says and does. He’s got a great personality. The fans love him.”


Ali also had a great personality and the fans loved him as well, but his one-liners sometimes fell flat, as did his poetry.  


“For Ali to compose a few words of real poetry,” said Mailer, “would be equal to an intellectual throwing a good punch.”


Comparing Fury to Ali might be a stretch, but according to King, there’s no ‘might be’ about it.


“I think that, to compare him with the legendary, greatest of all time, float like a butterfly sting like a bee, your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see, it is not a commentary situation.


“Something is wrong there. I’ll leave it to you. You be the judge people. Because I can’t understand that. That’s confusion to me, that must be a new disease, a new language that they’re speaking. I don’t quite understand it.”


New diseases and new languages is something with which Don King is familiar. But he is not alone. When the subject of Arum arose, King said, “He’s lonesome Bob. I love lonesome Bob. I would never have known how good I could be—and would be—if I didn’t have lonesome Bob.


“Lonesome Bob, Harvard graduate, got the complexion to get the protection, yet everything he ever did I beat him. So how do you do that? With hard work and dedication, commitment, being ever-alert and ever-vigilant. So thank you for making me a hard-working guy, lonesome Bob, I love you.”


Boxing makes for strange bedfellows, but there’s little evidence that the feeling is mutual.


“I don’t want to say nothing that would be derogatory or negative to lonesome Bob,” King added, “but if he wants to be able to make money, say what he have to say, I don’t need no comment on that.”

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