The Life and Crimes of Don King: The Shame of Boxing in America

The Life and Crimes of Don King: The Shame of Boxing in America

Language: English

Pages: 344

ISBN: 0974020109

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Here is a new, updated edition of award-winning columnist Jack Newfield’s best-selling biography of America’s boxing mogul, the source for the Emmy-winning movie Don King: Only in America.

When Jack Newfield’s unauthorized biography of Don King first appeared in 1995 it was hailed as one of the most important pieces of sports journalism of the decade. The HBO movie based on the book continues to be a television favorite. Now, for the first time, The Life and Crimes of Don King is available in paperback.

Jack Newfield has provided a new introduction and an extensive epilogue—”The Shame of Boxing in America”—for this new edition.

Here’s what critics had to say about the earlier edition:

“Jack Newfield is a writer who understands how to celebrate the rich complexity of American life while pulling the covers off of those monsters who threaten its very essence. In The Life and Crimes of Don King, he provides us with a book that stings in every direction—across class, race, profession, gender, religion, national boundaries, media, and law enforcement. We learn that Don King is an American so purely made of charisma and con that no one could have invented him.”
—STANLEY CROUCH, New York Daily News columnist

“It is difficult to imagine anyone better suited to tell the fascinating tale of Don King’s life than Jack Newfield. In The Life and Crimes of Don King Newfield has brilliantly captured the complex man beneath the flamboyant image and in the process produced an absolutely fabulous story,”
—DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian

“Jack Newfield brings a reporter’s craft and fan’s love of boxing to this study of the complex, brilliant promoter Don King. Newfield continues the tradition of great writers like A. J. Liebling, Budd Schulberg, and Norman Mailer who have brought their sharp focus to the world of boxing.”
—CHARLIE ROSE, PBS host

“Jack Newfield has captured Don King’s larger-than-life character with both fairness and passion. A brilliant investigative job!”
—NICK PILEGGI, co-author of Goodfellas and Casino

“Jack Newfield presents us with this first finely detailed portrait. For all those with a taste for robber barons and invincible chutzpah, this book is a must.”
—PETE HAMILL, author of A Drinking Life

About the author:

Veteran journalist Jack Newfield was a founder of the “New Journalism” in the 1960s as a columnist for The Village Voice. He was later a columnist for The New York Daily News and The New York Post. He was a fellow of The Nation Institute. He is the author of 10 books, has collaborated on numerous documentaries, and is the recipient of the George Polk Award for Investigative Journalism (1980), an Emmy for his documentary on Don King (1991), and numerous other awards.

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year. Don’t bring us mortal men. We want to fight giants!” But the next year, on March 4 in Oakland, Candy Slim was knocked out in the first round by an ordinary mortal named Henry Clark, and he never fought again. The loss annulled his self-esteem, and smack wrote the rest of his life. King walked away from him, and Candy Slim vanished into the night of drugs, pimps, nomadic travel, dumb crimes, and prisons. When David Wolf interviewed King for his True magazine profile in 1974, he asked King

Gregory”—all of whom went on to win world championships. Wallau handed his memo to Jim Spence as Spence was about to fly to Moscow. Spence would later tell investigators he read only the first page of the six-page memo. Spence returned from Moscow on December 22, when he received Wallau’s second memo covering all the fighters in the tournament under contract so far, not just those on the first telecast. This document was even more insightful and sarcastic than the first, and included a clipping

point of criticizing the booking fees the fighters were paying to managers, pointing out how, in theory, admission to the tournament was based on the Ring rankings, so why were any booking fees necessary? Arledge declared that from now on, all fighters and managers would be required to sign affidavits beforehand, swearing they had not paid any booking fees. (By the end of the tournament at least ten fighters would swear they had to make such improper payments to get into the tournament.) In the

$100,000 because King wasn’t playing it straight with ABC. Holmes was now a year older and still undefeated, but his career was drifting without momentum. And the future of his manager-promoter seemed jeopardized by possible indictment. Holmes even thought about going back to driving a truck. But whenever King gets into trouble, he just puts his head down and keeps on promoting bouts as if nothing is wrong. In March he put Holmes into a semifinal in San Juan against journeyman Horace Robinson.

usually doesn’t do this kind of thing, King tells me.” In researching this book I discovered allegations that Judge Corrigan was corrupt and controlled by organized crime in the files of James Licavoli (Jack White), the late boss of the Cleveland Mafia. The document I received is dated June 1965, and is a “weekly summary airtel” to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover from the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Cleveland field office. The airtel says: On 5/20/65 [informant’s name redacted] advised that it

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