Don King on the verge of his car­rier breakup

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

MIS­SOURI

"The Ir­ish Out­law" Ryan Coyne (21-0, 9 KOs) was on the verge of the big­gest break of his ca­reer. Not only was the 30-year-old Mis­souri-based club fighter set to chal­lenge WBO light heavy­weight champ, Wales' Nathan Clev­erly, on the Novem­ber 10 un­der­card of a Show­time event, but he would also be re­ceiv­ing a low six-fig­ure purse. It was the type of fight that makes up for a ca­reer's worth of poorly-paid, lowlevel bouts far away from the spot­light.

Un­for­tu­nately for Coyne, just as soon as the fight was an­nounced, it be­gan to be torn apart. Lead­ing the ef­forts to kill the fight was pro­moter Don King, who was claim­ing to still hold pro­mo­tional rights to Coyne de­spite not hav­ing ac­tu­ally pro­moted a fight for him in about six­teen months. Right or wrong in his claims, King pro­ceeded to poke, prod, and threaten ev­ery­one in­volved with the fight un­til Clev­erly's pro­moter, Frank War­ren, de­cided to find an­other op­po­nent for his fighter. This was to be Clev­erly's of­fi­cial Amer­i­can, main stage de­but and talk of law­suits and emer­gency in­junc­tions with days to go be­fore the event just didn't sit well with the vet­eran UK pro­moter.

The ef­forts to squash the fight weren't sur­pris­ing to those who fol­low the modus operandi of Don King Pro­duc­tions (DKP), nor were Coyne's sub­se­quent claims of pro­fes­sional mis­man­age­ment.

For younger fight fans, Don King is the el­derly, flagwaving car­i­ca­ture with the spiked hair who oc­ca­sion­ally talks loudly about box­ing on TV. But vet­eran box­ing en­thu­si­asts have a far dif­fer­ent view of King.

A for­mer street hustler, King emerged from a prison stint for man­slaugh­ter in the early '70s with a burn­ing pas­sion to be some­body-- and he found a home in the shady world of box­ing pro­mo­tion. Equally known for strong-arm­ing box­ing's big­gest stars as for putting on big shows, the Cleve­land na­tive be­came the most con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure in a con­tro­ver­sial sport for the bet­ter part of 30 years. These days, though, the 81-year-old King barely reg­is­ters as a blip on box­ing's radar.

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