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Boxing – 1985 – Don King D-Day Tribute – Marine Corp Band Presents The Colors + Plays The Star Spangled Banner

Donald King (born August 20, 1931) is an American boxing promoter known for his involvement in historic boxing matchups.  King’s career highlights include, among multiple other enterprises, promoting “The Rumble in the Jungle” and the “Thrilla in Manila”….as King has promoted some of the most prominent names in boxing, including Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Julio César Chávez, Ricardo Mayorga, Andrew Golota, Bernard Hopkins, Félix Trinidad, Roy Jones Jr., and Marco Antonio Barrera.  

King entered the boxing world after convincing Muhammad Ali to box in a charity exhibition for a local hospital in Cleveland with the help of singer Lloyd Price. Early on he formed a partnership with a local promoter named Don Elbaum….who already had a stable of fighters in Cleveland and years of experience in boxing.  In 1974, King negotiated to promote a heavyweight championship fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire….popularly known as The Rumble in the Jungle“.  The fight between Ali and Foreman was a much-anticipated event…..as King’s rivals all sought to promote the bout….but King was able to secure the then-record $10 million purse through an arrangement with the government of Zaire.  

Don King induced a Cleveland tycoon named Carl Lombardo to underwrite the show for $1.3‐million. Video Techniques put in $200,000 and that just about took care of the nut…..when Chuck Wepner went 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali….and knocking down his opponent in the ninth round as an unheralded challenger for the WBA and WBC world heavyweight champion crowns in 1975. Legend has it that Sylvester Stallone saw the fight….which Wepner lost to a knockout in the final seconds….and was spurred to write Rocky, which won the 1976 best picture Oscar and made a star of the actor.   

Don King solidified his position as one of boxing’s preeminent promoters the following year with the third fight between Ali and Joe Frazier in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, which King deemed the “Thrilla in Manila” Aside from promoting the premier heavyweight fights of the 1970’s….King was also busy expanding his boxing empire. Throughout the decade, he compiled an impressive roster of fighters….of which many of whom would finish their career with Hall of Fame credentials….as fighters like Larry Holmes, Wilfred Benítez, Roberto Durán, Salvador Sánchez, Wilfredo Gómez, and Alexis Argüello would all fight under the Don King Productions promotional banner in the 1970’s.  

For the next two decades, King continued to be among boxing’s most successful promoters….as fighters like Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Julio César Chávez, Aaron Pryor, Bernard Hopkins, Ricardo López, Félix Trinidad, Terry Norris, Carlos Zárate, Azumah Nelson, Andrew Gołota, Mike McCallum, Gerald McClellan, Meldrick Taylor, Marco Antonio Barrera, Tomasz Adamek, and Ricardo Mayorga are some of the boxers who chose King to promote many of their biggest fights. 

Of significant importance to a Don King promotion was the hoopla that surrounded the fights cards that he promoted….evidenced by this video herewith,,,,which highlights the use of The Marine Corp Band…..which was showcased during the presentation of the colors and the playing of the Star Spangled Banner for the opening of his fight card titled D-Day Dynamite on June 6, 1985 in commemoration of the D-Day invasion of World War II.

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