Donald Trump, Mike Tyson and Don King – Three Peas in a Pod

Donald Trump, Mike Tyson and Don King – In the late 1980s, Las Vegas and Atlantic City were engaged in a turf war for the procurement of mega-fights. Future presidential aspirant Donald Trump was at the center of the maelstrom.

A new era in the history of Atlantic City began on Memorial Day weekend, 1978, with the opening of the Resorts International Hotel. It housed the city’s first legal gambling casino. Later that year, on November 4, Atlantic City’s frenetic but short-lived casino era of boxing began when a ballroom at Resorts International was deployed for a boxing show. Former Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis Jr, not yet a ranked contender, opposed Luis Davila in the featured bout of a 4-bout card.

As more casinos came on line, boxing boomed. Between 1982 and 1985, there were an astounding 524 shows. But virtually all of these shows were low budget. The hotel-casinos in Atlantic City were built on smaller plots than the hotels that flowered on the Las Vegas Strip. There was no room to build an on-site arena or erect a temporary outdoor stadium.

Of course, a casino operator could lease the Atlantic City Convention Center. Home to the Miss America pageant, the convention center, which would take the name Boardwalk Hall, could seat a shade over 20,000 for an event that didn’t use up too much floor space. But leasing the property flouted the conventional wisdom. Casino operators didn’t want their best players straying off property to attend a big boxing match for fear that they would be cajoled away by agents for a rival casino.

Enter Donald Trump.

Trump Plaza, the first of Donald Trump’s three Atlantic City properties, opened in 1984. An overhead walkway connected the hotel to the convention center. With this amenity, Trump Plaza took the lead in sponsoring events that were too big for a casino showroom or ballroom.

Trump’s company built the Trump Plaza. The casino was managed by Harrah’s, a subsidiary of Holiday Inn. Shortly after the opening, Trump bought out Harrah’s. Then things really got interesting.

Trump’s first foray into boxing was the Spinks-Cooney fight, (June 15, 1987).  Later that same year, Mike Tyson made the first of his four Atlantic City title defenses, opposing Tyrell Biggs. Trump also sponsored the Foreman-Cooney fight of 1990 and the Foreman-Holyfield fight of 1991, big events that pumped big bucks into Trump’s casino coffers.

The highlight of Trump’s boxing adventures was the Tyson-Spinks fight of June 27, 1988. The fight lasted only 91 seconds, but the event was a wonderful spectacle. Press credentials were issued to 1,300 journalists and photographers from 22 countries. The live gate, $12.1 million, surpassed that of any previous sporting event in U.S. history.

Technically, the co-promoters were Don King, Tyson’s man, and Butch Lewis, the manager of Michael Spinks. Trump’s company merely ponied up the site fee and supervised the box office. But this is splitting hairs. In a TV commercial for the big fight, Tyson and Spinks faced off, exchanging malevolent glares, and then turned smiling to the camera and said “Thank you, Mr. Trump.”

Trump’s relationship with Mike Tyson ran deeper than that of the de facto promoter. Shortly after the Tyson-Spinks fight, Trump became Tyson’s unpaid business advisor, a role he took on at Tyson’s behest – or so he told reporters. Tyson was then in litigation with his estranged manager, Bill Cayton. Concurrently, there were loud rumors that Mr. Trump — how shall I say it? – had more than a nodding acquaintance with Tyson’s wife, actress Robin Givens.

Trump was ringside in Tokyo when Tyson met his Waterloo in the form of Buster Douglas. On the plane ride home, he and Don King reached a handshake agreement. Trump would promote the Tyson-Douglas rematch. That bout never came to fruition, a story for another day.

This reporter wasn’t on the scene when Trump, Don King, and Mike Tyson jazzed up Atlantic City. Having been to enough press luncheons where Don King commanded the podium, I’m guessing that the press conferences where more entertaining than many of the fights.

When Don King, in a public forum, butters up a collaborator, such as a casino owner, he seizes upon every encomium in the dictionary. One half expects a representative from the Vatican to swoop down out of the rafters and canonize the fellow right on the spot. Lord knows how many bouquets he lobbed at Donald Trump, by all appearances, his bosom buddy.

The Trump name still ornaments a few places in Atlantic City, but he has pulled out. The older hotel-casinos, those still standing, don’t pack them in anymore; the town is on the skids. “When I left,” Trump told a reporter, “the magic went out.”

Earlier this month, in a meeting with the editorial board of the New York Daily News, Rev. Al Sharpton likened Donald Trump to a white version of his longtime friend Don King. “If Don King had been born white,” said Sharpton, “he’d be Donald Trump.” And, presumably, vice versa.

I guess that makes sense, After all, they both have curious hair.

 

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Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-Radam G :

Hehe! What is so curious about their add-on rugs? Da Dons' are behind the times. They are both bald eagles up top. The hair cons, they ought to stop. Bald is in. The real hair that they have, is far pass thin. Move on, old dudes. Nobody cares about your fro. People care about what you know. What is this obsession of da Dons about hair? If it is gone, let it alone. BTW, did y'all see Lennox Lewis at the scraps in Brooklyn? He had a piece of fake hair on the top of his dome? OMFG! So much vanity. I wonder if Lennox's hair system smells like da Dons? Oh, YUP! That syet sweats in front of all those camera lights. So bet your arse that the wig odor is strong. Nice copy! Your last line just ignited the memories of the times that I caught da Dons without their cranium-top add-on rugs. Holla!


-Gabrielito :

Other than success, the two Don's could not be more different. Compare their Bios. 'Nuff said. Try again Mr. lefty writer.


-Radam G :

Other than success, the two Don's could not be more different. Compare their Bios. 'Nuff said. Try again Mr. lefty writer.
Please explain exactly what is a "lefty writer?" Da Dons have more in common than you could imagine. And they are tight like a fist. They have kicked it with one another for years. They may as well be twins. And probably are in a different dimension. Hehe! Da suckas' sneakiness match like an evil batch. Holla!


-Domenic :

Trump was a major player in boxing 25-30 years ago. Watch some youtube bouts from that era and the Trump name is ubiquitous. I remember those rumblings that he slept with Robin Givens. Not sure what to make of that. I really don't care what consenting adults do anyway. Those that despise Trump, get used to it, because he's pretty much a lock to be the GOP candidate, and Hillary will get starched by him. When she tried to drop the women card on him, he countered hard by reminding the world of her husband's well known indiscretions -including rape accusations when he was AG in 1978- and they went silent (I didn't care about Clinton getting some in the White House, meant nothing to me). But Trump's response was a political Tua-Ruiz. HC should've known he'd return fire with that, she was naive to even go there. It's funny because HC also says she relishes running against Trump, but dig slightly deeper and she's Floyd Patterson and he's Sonny Liston. Trump's unstoppable at this juncture. Some people hate him and believe he's Pol Pot or Kim Il Sung. I think it's exaggerated but he's a shoo-in to run the US in 2017 barring the unforeseen.


-ArneK. :

Appreciate you weighing in, Domenic. I will never use this forum to debate political ideologies, but I'm compelled to respond to your assertion that "(Trump) is pretty much a lock to be the GOP candidate, and Hillary will get starched by him." That's not an opinion shared by the oddsmakers, and oddsmakers as a rule are pretty sharp. A survey of 25 legal betting establishments in the U.K. shows that Hillary, as of today (Jan. 23) is a consensus 6/5 favorite (-120) to be our next president. The odds on Trump range from 5/2 (+250) to 7/2 (+350). Rubio and Sanders come in at 6/1 and 7/1, respectively. Now please let's not argue who the best candidate is -- that's not appropriate for this forum -- but if you think that the odds are out of whack, that's fair game.


-deepwater2 :

Appreciate you weighing in, Domenic. I will never use this forum to debate political ideologies, but I'm compelled to respond to your assertion that "(Trump) is pretty much a lock to be the GOP candidate, and Hillary will get starched by him." That's not an opinion shared by the oddsmakers, and oddsmakers as a rule are pretty sharp. A survey of 25 legal betting establishments in the U.K. shows that Hillary, as of today (Jan. 23) is a consensus 6/5 favorite (-120) to be our next president. The odds on Trump range from 5/2 (+250) to 7/2 (+350). Rubio and Sanders come in at 6/1 and 7/1, respectively. Now please let's not argue who the best candidate is -- that's not appropriate for this forum -- but if you think that the odds are out of whack, that's fair game.
I wonder what the odds of Mike Bloomberg running? He might throw his hat in the ring. Might be decent value.


-Domenic :

Appreciate you weighing in, Domenic. I will never use this forum to debate political ideologies, but I'm compelled to respond to your assertion that "(Trump) is pretty much a lock to be the GOP candidate, and Hillary will get starched by him." That's not an opinion shared by the oddsmakers, and oddsmakers as a rule are pretty sharp. A survey of 25 legal betting establishments in the U.K. shows that Hillary, as of today (Jan. 23) is a consensus 6/5 favorite (-120) to be our next president. The odds on Trump range from 5/2 (+250) to 7/2 (+350). Rubio and Sanders come in at 6/1 and 7/1, respectively. Now please let's not argue who the best candidate is -- that's not appropriate for this forum -- but if you think that the odds are out of whack, that's fair game.
I totally agree with this not being the forum to debate political ideologies, and I certainly wouldn't go to a political website to discuss Deontay Wilder (I neither endorsed nor condemned any candidate). I weighed in because the article, and headline, is about Trump, and his candidacy is certainly relevant (as any observer of Fox/CNN/MSNBC, or NY Times/Washington Post/WSJ reader would attest). As for the U.K. odds, fair point, but I do believe they're out of whack, and here's why. Trump's main competition is Cruz, but all signs point to him fending him off. Even if he loses in the Iowa caucus, he's up big in NH, SC, and virtually all the Super Tuesday states. He's up big in every respected national poll. As of now, he's pretty much a lock to be the GOP candidate, barring a Gary Hart like implosion. Hillary most likely beats Sanders, although that race is tightening and what looked like an early round KO is now going to the cards. Trump is a master at exploiting someone's weaknesses and pouncing on them. Trump's been married three times and was a womanizer. She can't play that card because she already tried, and got rebuffed (Trump cited Bill Clinton's rape accusation, numerous extramarital affairs, abuse of power by seducing a massively subordinate 20 year old, his impeachment, civil payment to Paula Jones, the revocation of his law license, etc). Hillary has her own issues, Benghazi and the email scandal being most prominent. If they face off, Trump will pound these points into the ground, which will weaken her badly. Running against Sanders, a nice guy, very respectable, is 180 degrees different than running against Trump. It's like a Chris Byrd power shot versus an Earnie Shavers power shot. She really only can go after his ill-advised statements (immigration, building a wall, banning Muslims, John McCain got captured, etc), and his bankruptcies, which she will do, but I don't think they'll resonate. Whenever she attacks, he'll counter-punch with all this material, and I think she'll buckle. On top of that, it's very difficult -obviously not impossible- to be elected after a two-term president of the same party (the tendency is to flip republican to democrat and vice versa; as an example, recent history went Eisenhower to JFK (Dem), Johnson to Nixon (Rep), Ford to Carter (Dem), Reagan to Bush (no change, this was the only time), Clinton to Bush (Rep), Bush to Obama (Dem). Hillary at 6/5 to become president is crazy, in my opinion. I think she'll shrivel up against Trump and lose big.


-Domenic :

I wonder what the odds of Mike Bloomberg running? He might throw his hat in the ring. Might be decent value.
That's being reported today. Would be very interesting man. All signs point to that hurting Trump (just like Ross Perot critically damaged Bush in 1992).


-Radam G :

After D-Trump loses his way in politricks, he will be back in television and back in boksing. No way in this lifetime and on this planet that he even gets close to winning the Republican Party and challenging Hillary Radam -- I mean Rodham -- Clinton for the most powerful office on the planet. Hehe! Da D-Trump is just showing his rump. And won't be able to get over the bump. Both politrick parties see him as a fake-hair-on-the-top-of-the-cranium chump. Holla!


-Gabrielito :

Hey Radam -Lefty writer trying to equivocate Dons Trump King and Mike Tyson. Tyson and King have long rap sheets, especially King. Don Trump (who is seeing record leads in his presidential campaign) has not killed two men not been acquitted by a grand jury multiple times. Trump is Ivy League educated. Sure they are friends but that doesn't make them similar people.


-Radam G :

Hey Radam -Lefty writer trying to equivocate Dons Trump King and Mike Tyson. Tyson and King have long rap sheets, especially King. Don Trump (who is seeing record leads in his presidential campaign) has not killed two men not been acquitted by a grand jury multiple times. Trump is Ivy League educated. Sure they are friends but that doesn't make them similar people.
They are far from having similar backgrounds or upbringing, no doubt. And yes! They are good friends with "curious hair." Hehe! What makes them similar is the it factor. They both got it going on. And know how to keep it going on. Holla!