B. Ware Don King

By Robert Ecksel on January 15, 2015
B. Ware Don King
"I was talking to Imelda Marcos two months ago and I am going to invite her to the fight."

If “people are basically human beings,” they shall beat their swords into plowshares and all will be well for the time being eternal…

In anticipation of Saturday’s heavyweight title fight between Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Haitian-born champion and his distinguished promoter, Don King, recently met the press via teleconference call. Not surprisingly, King was more loquacious than his fighter and he remains, even in his dotage, equal parts P.T. Barnum and Colonel Tom Parker, one of the best salesmen the world has ever known.

“This program is Return to Glory,” King said, “America’s return to glory in the heavyweight division, the WBC champion Bermane Stiverne against the mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder. It is something that is going to be a great event but it is a Fight for Peace.”

The late George Carlin once said that “fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity,” but that’s neither here nor there, as King makes clear in his final statement.

“Then with the Bombs Away is an addition to,” he continued. “This is going to bring boxing back to where it should be and get the country back to where it should be—being able to bring the glory back to the heavyweight division, which has been lacking for quite a while now. We are going to celebrate this at the MGM Grand with a salute to Kirk Kerkorian, the founder of bringing the MGM and all the rest of them in Las Vegas and making it the boxing capital of the world. I am very excited about this and I know you’ll be too. It is going to be a super-sensational card and a lovely night at the MGM Grand and the lion shall roar. We are very happy to be able to present this to you. Keep in mind this is a fight to unify—unify, solidarity and togetherness and you are going to have a peoples’ champion—a guy that’s name is Bermane, who reminds me of Mike Tyson the awesome devastating puncher, meeting another puncher named Deontay Wilder. I am very happy to be able to address you about it and look forward to seeing you at the fight.”

Having put the English language, or what’s left of the English language, through its paces, King introduced the champ.

“I want to introduce Bermane Stiverne. He is a guy that has worked very hard and the struggles he had to go thru to get to where he is now. He had a year and a half layoff because the Klitschkos were coming up with all kinds of excuses not to fight him and then he went on to become a politician to help Ukraine and try to become president and the mayor. So all of this time we had to hold Bermane. He was ready to fight. He is a dynamic fighter and a guy that is going to be champion for quite a long time. I have to applaud Steven Espinoza to be able to capture this imagination and put it on Showtime for the world to see this guy named Bermane Stiverne Champion, in absentee for not being able to fight for the title then he beats Arreola twice. He had to go through that twice. So we are going to add to that a guy named Deontay Wilder. So let me introduce to you now, with no further adieu, The Heavyweight Champion of the World Bermane Stiverne. Listen quietly and open your eyes and see, this is history in the making. Bermane, tell it to them like it is.”

After King’s ballyhoo, the low-key Stiverne seemed ever lower key than usual.

“What’s going on everybody,” the WBC champion said. “Well listen, I don’t know if I am going to be on the phone too long because I am not an entertainer or a promoter but my opponent is. Since the first time I moved to Vegas I had wanted to fight for the title in Vegas, and that didn’t happen. So now I am defending my title in Vegas at the MGM and that was another wish, and it came though. I am prepared. I have been ready. You know what I’m saying? Like I said before, there is no one that is going to beat me. This belt is not going anywhere, and that’s about it. I could sit here on the phone and tell you this and that but I will show you all on January 17th. It’s going to be a short night. It’s going to be painful. Really painful. And I will send him home with no belt.”

Stiverne was asked if he planned to take Wilder into the later rounds.

“First of all, the level of opposition that he has fought? I don’t really care about that. That is not how we have based our training camp, like he fought nobody. I train like I am fighting the best out there. If he has not gone past four rounds, that is not my business. That is his business. All I have to say is that after January 17, all the people that had questions about this man will get the answers. More than the answers. Not for one second and I don’t care if he went twenty-four rounds or whatever it is. It doesn’t matter. All I am saying is I can’t wait. I am just getting ready and in the meantime we just stay quiet and keep working.”

Negotiations for the fight seemed to take forever. Don King was asked why so long.

“It’s boxing,” he said, “and the fruit of the labor is what you’ve got right now. The heavyweight championship and it symbolized the essence of America—freedom, justice, equality—which makes all Americans proud and extremely grateful. It’s just what I’m looking for, bringing the heavyweight championship back to America and we are doing that. Like I said when he beat Arreola, we have an opportunity here to demonstrate what boxing really is. As the heavyweights go, so goes boxing. It’s been a downward cycle in boxing more so than an upward cycle and now we’ve got to get the groundswell of public opinion and you want people saying ‘when is the next one’ to be the battle cry.

“I love Al Haymon and I think he’s a great guy and Espinoza as I said, and Les Moonves and Showtime is bringing it to the forefront methodically and calculatedly bringing boxing back to the people. That’s what it’s all about—the people. It didn’t take a long time. It’s a short time. In the blink of an eye you are going to see the baddest heavyweight fight in history on January 17th, Martin Luther King’s birthday and Ali’s birthday, all in the same month.  It will be sensational. Let the world know. Use the Ring Magazine, the Bible of Boxing to get the word out. This is so great and I am so excited. Let them know what time it is. It’s heavyweight time. It’s America’s time, a Return to Glory.”

Stiverne had been all but forgotten by now. King’s words have a way of bulldozing whatever is in his path.

“You know, think back,” he said. “This is the 40th anniversary of the Rumble in the Jungle—Ali and George Foreman. So everything that I have had to come through and talking to Al Haymon, a brilliant intelligent man is something that is really great. At this time you are talking about difficulties, and still difficulties back then when I had to go from country to country to country looking for a site because I couldn’t even put it on in America—so you’ve got to understand what is real and what is practical. At the height of racism and segregation there wasn’t enough water to cry with. So I end up in Zaire and it has become legendary. The 40th anniversary of the heavyweight championship from then until now and in the ring again to carry on and how to make things happen in this great country. Al Haymon is icing on the cake. It’s like having a glorious dinner with wine and everything you are going to have then have the main course. I think Al Haymon is great. The idea is to just deal with what is real and what is practical. I was talking to Imelda Marcos about two months ago and I am going to invite her to the fight because of the Thrilla in Manila because it is the 40th anniversary of the Thrilla in Manila and she said ‘thank you for putting Manila on the map.’ This is about the struggle of life and the reward is in the journey. I am just so happy to be able to meet and discuss such an event with Al Haymon and Steven Espinoza and Richard Sturm and the founder of Coca Cola who is 96 years old right now.  These are the things I am looking at. Bring them all together for today and tomorrow and make them happen. So it was a piece of cake. Let’s try to go out there and change things for the betterment of the world and around the world.”

One reporter who wasn’t fiddling with his smart phone asked how Saturday’s fight will bring about world peace.

“Communication, inclusiveness and fighting have been the catalyst to bring people together,” King replied. “The world leaders that we will invite and to go to the different countries which I plan to do when Bermane continues to reign he displays the talent that he has after beating a gifted young fighter in Deontay Wilder—of the people from the Middle East and Egypt, just as I did with Ali in Zaire with George Foreman. There is a thing here; we have opened up a line of communication, something that we can deal with. It can’t be one-sided. It can’t be my way or the highway. You can open up things that we all find out can be descriptive. Do I have eyes? Can I see? Can I hear? If you prick me do I laugh? Do I hurt? If you prick me do I bleed? If you tickle me do I laugh? It’s the same thing. People are basically human beings so therefore we find the common denominator, not say I thought it was this way. Sit down and talk to one another. So peace is embryonic. We can make this thing happen. My fights go for world peace and national peace. A way of life in our great nation called America. Everything has to be able to be talked out. It is deeply rooted in America blood.  You need to discuss it in a matter than you can enlighten and education and make things happen for the betterment of our country and that’s what Bermane is going to become now, The People’s Champion, which means understanding and freedom, justice, equality and liberty. America’s creed. We live and practice the self-evident lie. Change that. Bring people of all walks of life together. We’ve got the opportunity to do so.”

I’m looking forward to this fight. I’m also looking forward to world peace. If, as King asserts, “people are basically human beings…deeply rooted in American blood,” they shall beat their swords into plowshares and all will be well for the time being eternal.

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Bermane Stiverne vs. Deontay Wilder - SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Promo



ALL ACCESS: Stiverne vs. Wilder



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  1. Eric 08:33pm, 01/15/2015

    Good luck on selling this fight. You could walk out on the street and ask the average citizen about either one of these fellows and get a blank stare. Have to be a genuine fight fanatic to be eagerly anticipating this bout. This bout has the potential to match up with some of those classic heavyweight title bouts from the 80’s moob era, involving fighters like Greg Page, Tony Tubbs, and Tim Witherspoon. ZZZZZZZZZZZ. When Larry Holmes was coming up, he complained about people calling him, Ernie Holmes, confusing his name with the late Pittsburgh Steeler great. At least they got the last name right. With Deontay, not many people still remember ex-Buc, James Wilder, been awhile ago, so no confusion there.

  2. Kid Blast 04:12pm, 01/15/2015

    Yes, double killer have good longevity!!

  3. NYIrish 03:38pm, 01/15/2015

    LOL Irish Frankie; “Looks like King is going to live for fukin’ ever.”
    The Energizer Bummy.

  4. Clarence George 12:24pm, 01/15/2015

    Did he really say “adieu” instead of “ado”?  Gotta love it.

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:17pm, 01/15/2015

    Stiverne’s resume is a tad thin too….and there was that KO loss….I’d say they both have something to prove. At least Bermane has a natural cushion for those Wilder shots that land on the back of the head….maybe that’s why he’s so damn confident. Looks like King is going to live for fukin’ ever…..but it’s all good. Probably best for boxing if Wilder wins…..then Wlad would get a chance to prove he can hang in there with a freak puncher and knock his sorry zombie ass out!

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