LAS VEGAS -- The architect and impresario behind the legendary The Rumble In the Jungle and Thrilla in Manila and countless other historic classic boxing events, Hall of Fame promoter, Don King, has plenty of fight left in him.
King, still going strong at 85, is planning an upcoming “Salute To Greatness” worldwide boxing series in memory of Muhammad Ali.
The idea, says King, “is to do a global salute to the memory of the greatest, Muhammed Ali’’ by revisiting some of the cities and countries King helped make famous and to promote major championship events, every few months, in new locations around the world, for Ali and the people’s champions for peace globally.
“I brought international fame and acclaim to cities and countries, brought them worldwide recognition, put them on map,’’ King said. “We put Manila on the map, same with Zaire and many other places. With this series, we’re open to do things that have never happened before.
“We could go anywhere and everywhere, we’re gonna conquer the world. They’re calling me, Africa is calling me. I don’t even have to call them.
“It’s the 41st anniversary of The Thrilla in Manila, the 42nd anniversary of The Rumble In The Jungle. We could take George Foreman, Larry Holmes, go to Mexico for Julio Cesar Chavez, Panama for Roberto Duran, Puerto Rico for Felix “Tito” Trinidad, and just go around. The possibilities are endless.’’
King promotes former heavyweight champion Bername Stiverene (25-2-1, 21 KOs), a Haiti native living in Las Vegas who is scheduled to face Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs), a former world titleholder and 2004 Russian Olympic gold medalist, for the vacant WBC interim title in a fight mandated by the WBC. Negotiations have begun.
The Stiverne-Povetkin winner would face the unbeaten American, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, once he’s fully recuperated from a broken hand and torn biceps suffered in his last defense against Chris Arreola. Wilder hopes to return to the ring by mid-January.
“I would love to make the fight between Stiverne, the WBC’s No. 2 contender and Povetkin, who’s No. 1,” King said. “We could do the fight in Russia, the U.S. even Africa. I’m friends with Russian President Vladimir Putin and I’m a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, who I’ve known a long time. Maybe the Presidents could sit together at ringside, President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump. Can you imagine??????
“The (Stiverne-Povetkin) fight would mark the first in a long journey. If Bermane wins, we take him around the world. Bermane has a lot to prove. He’s the only fighter to go the distance with Wilder, but he gave that fight away. This is his chance for redemption; the tour will go on with or without him. We shall overcome!
“This is the Love & Peace Roundup for me. I’m back in the saddle. There’s no stopping this series. It’s a ‘Salute to Greatness’ in the memory of Ali and for all the great fighters all over the world.’’