He is the quintessential boxing character of this era, is Don King, and theyve said everything about him that they say about enduring, iconic characters of his ilk. King had brushes with the law as a younger man, and was taken out of circulation after he exacted street justice on a man who crossed him. Fighters have pointed the finger at him, saying that they didnt get what King said they had coming to them, and the governments prosecutors had King in their sites a half dozen times, but couldnt quite put the perfect case together, so they could re-introduce the promoter to a state-sponsored hiatus.
Theyve said all that of the man, but those that knew him, when the cameras were off, when there was no fight or fighter to sell to the public, saw another side to King. They saw him doting on his wife Henrietta, who he called Henry and who longtime employees of Don King enterprises sometimes referred to as the General, for her obvious leadership qualities, and for the fact that she was the boss in the King household.
Dons wife of almost 50 years died on Thursday night, from stomach cancer, at age 87. Shed had surgery to get the cancer five years ago, which went well, but her faculties dimmed in the last few years, and then the cancer returned.
Ive lost my best friend, said King when she expired, the bombast, the sparkle in his eye that we know so well, absent.
A couple years ago, King shared in a fight program some of what he loved about her, and what made their union stick. She was his consigliere, he said, able to dispense sage advice about the latest Ali negotiation, the latest Tyson promotion, the latest prosecutorial flurry. It may be no coincidence that King has been less busy in the business, that his influence has dimmed, as her condition worsened.
King, now 79, was tender with her, and would chuckle when shed assert herself. Business at their mansion was a no-no, and she went ballistic when the Don entertained a client their while she was out of town, and she found out. Her voice rose to the roof, and he gave that Santa Claus chuckle of his, but there were no more client meetings after that. When Henry spoke, Don listened, and for the most part, obeyed.
TSS send sincere condolences to Don, her children Eric, Carl and Debbie, and other family and friends of Henrietta.