Donald King is a boxing promoter, known for setting up some of the most notorious fights in boxing history. He was born on August 20, 1931 in Cleveland, Ohio. He had considered a career in law at first and attended Western Reserve University where he became a bookkeeper at a betting ring. In 1954, he was charged with murder but his name was cleared after the judge ruled it as a justifiable homicide, as the victim Hillary Brown had been trying to rob one of King’s gambling houses. There was another murder charge to his name 13 years later for stomping an employee to death. This time King was convicted of second degree murder, but the sentence was reduced to non-negligent manslaughter for which he served four years in prison. Several prominent people came to his aid to help get his sentence reduced, including Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes, Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, George Voinovich, Art Modell, and Gabe Paul.
King’s entered the field of boxing after convincing the legendary fighter Muhammad Ali to participate in a charity exhibition match for a local hospital in Cleveland. He formed a partnership with a famous local boxing promoter named Don Elbaum. In 1974, he set up one of the biggest matches of his career. It was titled “The Rumble in the Jungle” and it was fought between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire. It was a hugely anticipated event, with a prize money of $10 million, the biggest in boxing history at the time.
He followed this up the very next year with another mammoth fight, this time between Muhamamd Ali and Joe Frazier. This was held in Manila, Phiilippines and was titled the “Thrilla in Manila”. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, King became a prominent promoter for some of the most renowned boxers including Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Julio Cesar Chavez, Aaron Pryor, Bernard Hopkins, Ricardo Lopez, Salvador Sanchez, Wilfredo Gomez and several others. Apart from boxing, he runs a newspaper in Cleveland called the “Call and Post” of which he is the publisher.
He was married to Henrietta