P.T. Barnum has nothing on Don King. I have been covering the 81-year-old King since 1979, and no matter what you may think of him as a person, he never fails to make sure whatever he is promoting gets the biggest, brightest spotlight possible.
The prefight hype is kicking into high gear as 48-year-old Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins faces the undefeated IBF light-heavyweight champion, 31-year-old Tavoris "Thunder" Cloud, in hopes of breaking his own record as the oldest champion in boxing history. The fight will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday on HBO.
This is more than just another fight for King. He is promoting this as a historic sports event. He spoke via conference call this week, and it was classic King in full promotional mode.
What are your thoughts on Bernard Hopkins?
King » "I have nothing but the greatest respect for Bernard. I have known him since he was 20 or 21, and he is one of the smartest and best fighters ever to step into the ring. But Saturday night in Brooklyn he will lose to Tavoris "Thunder" Cloud, who is the hardest puncher and most aggressive fighter I have seen since Mike Tyson."
Does this fight remind you of any other fights you have promoted?
King » "Yes, in many ways this is like George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali. You have a young champion facing an old challenger. Foreman was in a no-win situation in that fight. If he beat Ali, no big deal. After all, he was the younger, better fighter, so he was supposed to win. If Ali won, which he of course did, then Foreman was not the true champion. This time, however, it will be a different ending. Tavoris "Thunder" Cloud will defeat Bernard Hopkins, proving that he is indeed a worthy champion who can defend his title."
Hopkins says he wants to put you out of business. Your response?
King » "Yeah, I heard him say if he beats Cloud I have no other big-time fighters so I would be out of business. Bernard is funny. I have plenty of good young talent on my team, and of course he is not going to beat Cloud, so I am not worried about being put out of business."
Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.