Don King and the 5 Best Promoters in the History of Boxing
Boxing is not a sport that promotes itself.
Without a surefire promoter, the person who lies behind (and in front) of the scenes, many of the greatest fights of all time would never have happened. Sure, many promoters get a bad rap for many purported shady dealings, as well as having their own interests in mind instead of the fighters.
Still, the sport would not be the same without such colorful personalities telling us how great a fight is supposed to be.
Besides, well, you know who, let’s rate the five best boxing promoters of all time.
5. Frank Warren
Warren is arguably the most successful British promoter of all time.
His most notable achievements include coordinating the rise of two of the best fighters to come out of the U. K.—Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton.
Ricky Hatton retired in July of 2011, his only two losses coming from Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao. Regardless, Warren made Hatton a superstar in his home country.
Although he had disputes with Calzaghe late in his career, Warren still promoted the majority of Calzaghe’s undefeated streak, which eventually set the fighter up for showdowns between boxing greats Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, Jr. Calzaghe would go on to defeat both men.
He has also promoted the careers of notable British fighters Amir Khan, Nigel Benn and Naseem Hamed.
4. Oscar De La Hoya
In 2001, while still being a full time boxer, De La Hoya started his own firm called Golden Boy Promotions. Since then, Golden Boy can honestly boast itself as being one of boxing's few promotional organizations with minimal controversy in its dealings.
What’s different about Golden Boy and other organizations is that it is (mostly) run by fighters, men who have actually laced up a pair of gloves and fought other men. Other boxers who helped start Golden Boy include current world champions Bernard Hopkins and Juan Manuel Marquez.
The most lucrative fight in boxing history was the 2007 bout between Floyd Mayweather, Jr, and Oscar De La Hoya. Needless to say, Golden Boy was at the helm for that one.
Unlike outspoken promoters Bob Arum and Lou DiBella, De La Hoya’s company has actually maintained a peaceable stance with the sport of MMA. It even entertained a small partnership with the short-lived Affliction organization (Affliction went south in 2009).
Time will tell if Golden Boy Promotions will continue being a fighter’s haven or not.
3. Tex Rickard
If you don’t know who this man is, then you’re not alone. Well before the days of Don King and Bob Arum, Tex Rickard was the biggest promoter of the early 20th century.
In 1910, Rickard promoted the biggest match-up of the time when he was able to coax Jim Jeffries out of retirement to face Jack Johnson for the heavyweight championship.
It was deemed “The Fight of the Century.” Jim Jeffries, undefeated in his career, wanted to claim the title back for “the white race,” but was soundly defeated by TKO in the 15th round by the African-American Johnson. The symbolic victory was important for African-Americans around the nation.
He was able to create boxing’s first million when he promoted Jack Dempsey’s Heavyweight Title defense against Georges Carpentier in 1921, which took place in New Jersey. It was also the world’s first title fight that was broadcast over the radio.
He passed away in 1929, but not before having forever changed the sport of boxing.
2. Bob Arum
The outspoken founder of the boxing promotion Top Rank lands at the considerable number two spot.
Having founded his organization in 1973, Arum has gone on to promote the careers of many of boxing’s most successful figures, including Oscar De La Hoya, Roberto Duran, George Foreman and current pound-for-pound kingpin Manny Pacquiao.
As seen by the video (fun starts at the 4 minute mark), Bob Arum is not particularly fond of boxing’s main competitor, MMA, but is still quite the savvy businessman.
In the 1980s, Top Rank produced such classics as Marvin Hagler vs. Tommy Hearns and Hagler vs. Leonard.
George Foreman also won the World Heavyweight Championship at 45 years of age against Michael Moorer when under Top Rank; he is the oldest boxer to ever do so.
So who could outdo such a man? Click next to find out.
1. Don King
Was it ever a question?
The bling. The smile. The hair. Yes, Don King is undoubtedly the most recognizable boxing promoter of all time, which in turn makes him the best as well. Don’t believe me? Look at his resume.
The man orchestrated “The Rumble in the Jungle,” the amazing heavyweight matchup between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. He also boasts “The Thrilla in Manila.” This was just in the 1970’s.
He later went on to sign Mike Tyson, arguably the biggest fighting sensation of the last 25 years. Other notable names include Mexican superstar Julio Cesar Chavez and Roy Jones, Jr.
Of course, there is always a bit of controversy surrounding the man and the occasional “fixed” fight, much of it warranted, but let’s not focus on the bad, ok people? Give credit where credit is due, as the man has undoubtedly left a tremendous mark (for better or worse) on the sport of boxing.