Don King Net Worth 2022 – Salary, Income, Wife

Don King Net Worth

Don King has an estimated net worth of $150 million. Donald King is a boxing promoter from the United States who has been involved in several historic boxing matches. No other man has made as much money promoting boxers as Don King, despite his outrageous and rather odd hairdo and flamboyant mannerism. Many people are shocked or jolted awake by King’s eerie past activities, which include manslaughter, street crime, and a jail sentence.

Don King began his career in illegal bookmaking before moving on to boxing promotion. He rose to prominence as a boxing promoter, promoting boxers such as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Félix Trinidad, Roy Jones Jr., and Marco Antonio Barrera, among many others.

His career accomplishments include the promotion of two of boxing’s most famous and legendary fights, ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ and ‘The Thrilla in Manila,’ both of which launched his career. His career took off after that, and he went on to promote over 500 championship fights.

However, a large number of boxers he promoted, including Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, accused him of fraud and mismanagement of funds.

To calculate the net worth of Don King, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets.

All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities. 

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Don King
Net Worth: $150 Million
Monthly Salary: $500 Thousand
Annual Income: $10 Million
Source of Wealth: Boxing promoter

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Early Life

Donald ‘Don’ King was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Clarence King and Hattie, and attended Kent State University for a short time before dropping out.

He started an illegal bookmaking business and was later charged with the murder of two men, for which he served a prison sentence but was later granted a pardon.


Don King’s path to riches began in 1972 when Forest City Hospital was under threat of being shut down. It served the – predominantly black – local community and King rode in as the black knight in shining armour. He was already involved with boxing at the time. 

Ray Anderson and Jeff ‘Candy Slim’ Merritt were two fighters he was able to secure under his management, after easing out the existing manger with some slick manoeuvring.

King booked singers from his club and asked his friend, the legendary performer Lloyd Price, to get his pal Muhammad Ali (who had the pulling power of the Pope and Michael Jackson combined) involved in a boxing exhibition bout to help raise funds. Ali was a sucker for good causes and agreed.

Don King was also able to lean on Price to get the mysterious and mercurial Motown star Marvin Gaye, a protégé of Berry Gordy, to appear. 

Knowing Gaye’s curious disposition, emotionally intelligent King arranged for some guys to pretend they were photographers and go down to meet the singer off the plane with powerful flash photography equipment going off. Marvin lapped it up and got pumped up; the ruse ensured he didn’t walk out of what could be perceived, by Gaye as a low-brow event. With the help of Don Elbaum (a professional fight promoter) the boxing event broke all records for an exhibition bout. Don King had saved the hospital from closure. 

Ali suggested King get into the boxing promotion business. King never looked back. During a heart-to-heart with Elbaum, Don King threw his arms theatrically around the promoter and begged him to get him out of the numbers racket through the salvation of boxing.

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From pawn to king

Elbaum later introduced King to Ernie Shavers, reputed to be the hardest- hitting boxer in history. Entrepreneur Joseph ‘Blackie’ Gennaro and baseball pitcher Dean Chance had a joint interest in Ernie Shavers. 

Elbaum arranged for King to buy out Chance. After a grandiose speech by King during an Ernie Shavers investors meeting, King left with $8,000 ($30,000) to pay for his share and another $8,000 for ongoing expenses. Elbaum thought it was critically important that a black promoter fronted the business in the racially charged times.

In 1972 Elbaum continued elevating King, introducing him to a company called Video Techniques, providers of satellite technology and closed-circuit TV coverage for fights. 

Once again Elbaum made the point about the racial divide and a shift in black consciousness to a more strident nationalistic slant. Elbaum made the situation clear to the Video Techniques President, Hank Schwartz. 

If they harboured serious ambitions and wanted to assert themselves in the boxing game, they needed a smart black man to front it. It was essential to find someone who could get up close and personal to the prize catch (black heavyweight fighters). Elbaum told Schwartz that King was peerless in this task and that if he had any sense he’d employ him.

Frasier Vs Foreman

Video Techniques covered ‘The Sunshine Showdown’ (Joe Frazier v. George Foreman) in Jamaica on January 22nd 1973. 

King took the opportunity to slink into champion Joe Frazier’s camp. He volunteered for the responsibility of picking up the Frazier family from the airport and lugging their heavy bags around. 

King then watched the two-round fight virtually from Frazier’s stool. King backed the wrong horse. Foreman dropped Frazier six times in five minutes, so King dropped Frazier too, and joined Foreman’s camp. 

Even before the bell could be rung to herald the end of Frazier’s unbeaten reign as a fighter and champion, 

King was in the ring celebrating with Foreman. The guys at Video Techniques looked on in awe as King and Foreman left in a limousine on their way back to the hotel as an inseparable couple. Schwartz couldn’t believe the audacity and sagacity of Don King.

The Jamaican government had financed the Video Techniques satellite feed and had a stake in its corollary broadcast rights. This was not lost on the precocious King. He learned at an exceptionally fast speed. Schwartz sat down with fighter and consummate gentleman Ken Norton, and signed him up for a promotion. However, signing his bad-ass opponent George Foreman was not

working out. Bad-ass Don King was wheeled in. The supreme entrepreneur knew how to deal with bad boys, he’d already killed two of them.

He knew he needed big upfront money in small bills, which he raised himself. King is alleged to have found Foreman at an airport urinal. It’s rumoured he didn’t bother waiting for the boxer to finish relieving himself before laying the money on him and getting him to sign the contract, mid-flow.

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Muhammad Ali

King’s fighters were losing their big fights. When Muhammad Ali called King to commiserate on the Ernie Shavers loss to ‘the great white hope’ Jerry Quarry in a one-round defeat, the entrepreneur seized the opportunity to charm Ali into letting him promote an Ali v. Foreman bout. 

He even went as far as to sprinkle the conversation with quotes from Islam in order to get Ali to agree to the idea.

King put all of this energy into selling the idea to Ali. He outlined his vision for an all-black event: black entrepreneurs as well as boxers, with the best black singers. This was music to Muhammad Ali’s ears and impossible for the black icon to resist.

Unsurprisingly, Ali’s existing promoters were not very happy about his new alliance with Don King. Entrepreneur Bob Arum (a white Jew) was Muhammad Ali’s lawyer and occasional promoter. 

Herbert Muhammad (a black Muslim) was both Ali’s manager and the son of his spiritual leader, Elijah Muhammad, who was noted for vitriolic anti-white philosophy and anti-Jewish sentiment. The two businessmen had every incentive to distrust each other. 

Nevertheless they were united in their opposition to King. He posed such a threat to their livelihoods that the odd bedfellows felt the need to join forces against him. 

Namely; Hillary Brown and Sam Garrett King, of course, did not take kindly to this attempt to unseat him. He ranted to Muhammad Ali that Arum had reneged on the Ohio closed-circuit rights for Ali v. Frazier II in 1974, and harped on about white ‘blaxploitation’.

Arum underestimated King and thought he knew how to outmanoeuvre his competitor. He essentially told Herbert Muhammad to put the ‘fruit’ high up on the tree beyond King’s reach. 

The requirement was for King to come up with a verbally agreed $5 million ($16 million), as part of a non-refundable advance downpayment. King was also required to produce a contract with Foreman’s name on it. 

Arum knew King could never cover all bases. He thought Don King’s idea for a ‘Black to Africa’ celebratory event was the stuff of fairytales, but he failed to understand what kind of player he was dealing with.

King successfully put Ali off the idea of a fight organised by Arum and Herbert Muhammad worth $850,000 ($2 million), that could have jeopardised his proposed Africa event. 

He wooed Ali with his silver tongue, preaching to him about destiny and the greatest sporting event in the history of the world, with black gladiators returning home to Africa. 

King looked up to the heavens as though he had been taken over by a mystical apparition and then began to speak in hallowed tones as if unaware of his surroundings saying: “I feel we are just instruments in an overall plan.”

Ali knew this was outrageous stuff but it was pure theatre. King was a man after Ali’s own heart. With millions in the bank from the non-refundable deposit, it was a no-brainer. Ali went for it. 

The full-on promoter and mathematical genius was eventually able to put a complex multi-faceted deal together. This former convicted killer and Cleveland street hustler had out-manoeuvred Bob Arum, a Harvard law graduate, member of the bar and former state prosecutor.

George Foreman’s management company was in financial disarray and losing money. Many thought King was crazy to plan such an ambitious event. 

But Leroy Jackson, Foreman’s manager, was negotiating to get Foreman to fight Ali and Frazier on the same night! What Jackson was attempting was lunacy. 

King knew how to get signatures from bad boys. He lay in wait for Foreman in a hotel car park, where he began his pitch: “I can deliver [Ali]… monumental… reverberate around the world… Black Gladiators… inspiration to the downtrodden… proficiency… perpetuity…” It lasted 90 minutes. Foreman then turned to King and said, “I’m going to give you my trust. I’ve never done this before.” He signed seven blank sheets of paper. It was thought that acquiring a signature from George Foreman was going to be an impossible task. 

King not only got the signature; he got Foreman to sign a blank sheets of paper with a promise to fill in the details later! The boxing world simply did not understand what measure of a man was entering its commercial arena.

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Trademark Hairstyle

By the mid 1970s, King was a celebrity in his own right – he even had his own trademark hairstyle, called the ‘crown’.

It was time to secure a venue for King’s Africa event. It was actually with the help of King’s quixotic friend Lloyd Price (author of the ‘crown’ hairstyle) that Africa was settled on as the location. King travelled to the Congo, a country in turmoil and in need of distraction from its plight, to make a deal with the despot Mobutu.

Booked to perform on the night of the fight were living legends like B. B. King and James Brown. King signed TV stations and auctioned the closed-circuit satellite feed. 

The entrepreneur held together dozens of disparate factions, all of whom had individual and separate agreements and rights to airing, filming or publishing of the greatest sporting event in history, known as ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’. 

The promoter guaranteed an unprecedented $10 million ($35 million), split between the boxers. Muhammad Ali caused one of the greatest upsets in boxing history, having almost been written off by the popular press before the fight. 

The battle was a sensational exhibition of guile versus brute force. The event went beyond even King’s expectation as a spectacle, and cemented his position as a one-man global force in boxing.

In 1976, King arranged for the heavyweight champion of the world, Muhammad Ali, to campaign on behalf of Judge Corrigan, the same judge who commuted his conviction for murder to manslaughter back in 1967. 

King got himself a pardon from lame duck Ohio governor James Rhodes in 1983. The entrepreneur had thought Rhodes’ political campaigning worthy of financial support some years earlier.

King lost his grip on the heavyweight championship when next-big-thing Mike Tyson, managed by a competitor, became the youngest man to win the heavyweight title. 

But King did not rest on his laurels; he kept busy by promoting and managing Michael Jackson and his brothers’ ‘Victory Tour’ in 1984, grossing $150 million ($250 million). King then brokered a product-endorsement deal for Michael to appear in a series of television commercials for Pepsi.

Mike Tyson

King kept a close watch on Tyson, and seized his opportunity to take control when Tyson’s co-manager and friend Jim Jacobs died from leukaemia on March 23rd 1988. King gatecrashed the funeral (Tyson was a pallbearer).

Tyson’s personal life was tumultuous. His wife, actress Robin Givens, went public with their difficulties. Mike was particularly enraged by disclosures made by his wife during a TV interview with Barbara Walters. The acrimony worsened and Givens sued for divorce. 

King stepped in to help his muse. Givens naturally had access to their joint bank account, and was seen as a threat. King went into hustler mode to thwart any attempts to empty the accounts. 

He also gave the young boxer a black revolutionary perspective on the history of ‘blaxploitation’ in the boxing industry. At 24 years of age, Tyson signed a four- year exclusive promotions deal with Don King. Game over.

Former great heavyweight champion Larry Holmes said of Don King: “I make more money with Don King stealing from me than with 100% from other promoters.” 

Don King brought more money into the world of boxing than all his peers combined, and certainly attracted more in than he could ever take out. He received every business accolade that boxing had on offer.

Seth Abraham, former president of HBO Sports said of King: “He has the most brilliant business mind I have ever encountered … Don King is formidable in his sleep.”

Personal Life & Wife

He married Henrietta in 1959, and they had three children. In the year 2010, his wife died. He has five grandkids.

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Don King Quotes

Hypocrisy is the mother of all evil and racial prejudice is still her favourite child.

Don King


Muhammad Ali – he was a magnificent fighter and he was an icon… Every head must bow, every knee must bend, every tongue must confess, thou art the greatest, the greatest of all time, Muhammad, Muhammad Ali.

Don King


My career is one of people involvement. I’m a promoter of the people, by the people, for the people. My magic lies, my people ties, this is what I want to do. I’m in it to win, I cant give in, I can’t give up and I cant quit. Victory is mine. Working together works.

Don King


If a bullfrog had wings it wouldn’t bump his behind every time he hopped.

Don King


I don’t promote boxing, I promote people. Boxing is a catalyst to bring people together.

Don King


Martin Luther King took us to the mountain top: I want to take us to the bank.

Don King


Machiavelli taught me it was better to be feared than loved. Because if you are loved they sense you might be weak. I am a man of the people and help them but it is important to do so through strength.

Don King


My hair is God’s aura. Everything went up when I got home from the penitentiary. One night I went to lie down next to my wife, and my hair started popping and uncurling all on its own – ping, ping, ping, ping! I knew that it was God telling me to stay on the righteous path so he could one day pull me up to be there with him.

Don King


I transcend earthly bounds. I never cease to amaze myself because I haven’t yet found my limits. I am quite ready to accept the limits of what I can do, but every time I feel that way – boom! – God touches me and I do something that’s even more stupendous than whatever I’ve done up to then.

Don King


If you cast your bread upon the water and you have faith, you’ll get back cash. If you don’t have faith, you’ll get soggy bread.

Don King


Mike Tyson has been given every penny he has coming.

Don King


James Brown died owing me $50,000. But I loved James Brown.

Don King


You go for the quality of the performance, not the longevity of it.

Don King


I’m a promoter of the people for the people and by the people and my magic lies in my people ties. I’m a promoter of America. I’m American people. You know what I mean? So therefore, uh, do not send for who the bell tolls ’cause the bell tolls for thee.

Don King


He worked for the day when all people would be clothed in dignity.

Don King


It ain’t about if he knocks a guy out. It’s about how he knocks a guy out. It’s the style, the improvisation.

Don King


I will fight for America until the day I drop.

Don King


Only in America can a Barack Obama happen. Only in America can a Don King happen.

Don King

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