by Ryan Burton
Arguably the most famous promoter in the history of boxing, Don King, spoke to BoxingScene.com about HBO's recent decision to sever their business relationship with Golden Boy Promotions.
HBO Sports, led by President Ken Hershman, felt Golden Boy was using their outlet to build talent and then steering that same talent to network rival Showtime. However, insiders believe HBO broke ties with Golden Boy because the biggest star in the sport, Floyd Mayweather Jr. [a close business partner of Golden Boy], signed a multi-year exclusive contract with Showtime in February.
Over two decades ago, King found himself in the same position. In 1990, King took Mike Tyson away from HBO and brought him to Showtime - and also began to showcase some of his other recognizable names on their network. Because King made that business maneuver - HBO Sports, then led by Seth Abraham, refused to do further with his company.
"History repeats itself, [and] if you don't do nothing to change things [then things will repeat themselves]. You have to be able to go to the cause rather than the effect. I created HBO. HBO was not in boxing. I gave HBO a shot at the heavyweight title for $125,000 dollars when ABC was offering me $800,000 dollars - but because they wouldn't give me the million I asked for - I decided to take the $125,000 and help elevate the young, striving little network called HBO. That's what I did and now they are the biggest thing out there," King told BoxingScene.com.
"I did the same thing with Showtime and [CEO] Tony Cox, with Mike Tyson. And now they are a formidable competitor. This is what the problem is - if [the network] is going to do the same thing [again] - then you are not going to be able to argue about nothing else. That is the first time in television network history that a television network fires a [company]. Here is a person who says they are coming to clean up but it's not what you do but the way that you do it."
"You can always be competitive and say that you want to make more money and then you sit down and discuss it, and if it isn't what it is then you you agree to disagree. But you don't throw a rock at [someone's] hand, you don't blindside nobody. That's the first time that I know, so I'll say in my humbler opinion, that a network has made a public decree that you're fired. I have never seen that before and therefore it is news to me that they would have that kind of intestinal fortitude to do something [like that]."
"I can't talk to you where it's my way of no way. It's a give and take situation. And if want to do something in this world, you have to keep that [in mind] and its something that is easier said than done, but I try very, very hard to do do that."