January 12, 2005

Don King, tired of shaming boxers, goes after ESPN for $2.5 billion

Don King is suing ESPN for $2.5 billion, claiming defamation of character.

The suit stems from a SportsCentury segment aired last year that called King "a snake oil salesman, a shameless huckster and worse," and claimed he had killed two people, instead of the one that he was convicted of.

Most of the material in the program had been printed or broadcast earlier about King, who has spent much of his career in court, but he said he had just had enough.

"I just felt that this was the straw that broke the camel's back and I can't take it anymore, and I'm going to fight back," King said at a news conference. "I seek justice."

The suit also says SportsCentury accused King of threatening to break the legs of heavyweight Larry Holmes and of cheating boxer Meldrick Taylor out of $1 million from a fight and then threatening to have Taylor killed.

King has represented fighters from Ali to Mike Tyson, and has been sued by several of them — including a $100 million lawsuit filed against him by Tyson. King paid $7.5 million to former middleweight champion Terry Norris in late 2003 to settle a suit. King sued former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis for libel.

King also has beaten federal charges, including tax evasion and fraud. He served nearly four years in prison for the 1967 beating death of a man who owed him money. In 1954, he killed a man who was robbing a numbers house he operated in Cleveland, but it was ruled self-defense.

I count pretty well, and it sounds like King actually did kill two people.

It also shows what everyone already apparently knows: that King is a shyster and showman cut from the P.T. Barnum mold.

More recently, King has become a Republican and much to the chagrin of many Republicans of all stripes (but most especially getting the goat of black Republicans), King was part of a Republican outreach program that toured the nation last summer during the Presidential campaign.

Posted by mhking at January 12, 2005 11:07 PM

Damaging Don King's character? Can such a thing be done? Reminds me of a joke a standup comic friend of mine would tell about a tornado that whipped through a trailer park and did $500,000 worth of improvements.

Posted by: Gib at January 13, 2005 11:32 AM
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