Don King interview: ‘Trump never surrenders – I love the man and hope he wins’

The waiters bustle to set up the table, knowing his routine well. He carries his no-salt hot pepper sauce in his bag but still orders ‘a stack of pancakes, butter, grits, eggs and bacon’. I point out that the butter has salt in it, as does the bacon. ‘I’ll have to start bringing my own butter now. I can’t give up bacon. Muhammad Ali tried to convert me to Islam but I said, “Champ, I just can’t give up the pig. It’s what keeps us strong. From the rooter to the tooter.”’

These days King’s pace is slower, his hair is not quite the signature it used to be, and his gait is stooped. But in other ways, not much has changed with Don King. His mind and wit are still the sharpest in the room. His voice is still strong and clear. For more than 20 years I followed him with my camera, documenting the behind-the-scenes of his world. He never once told me to stop filming – from the front lines of the Iraq War, where he was invited by the commander of the allied forces General David Petraeus on a USO tour, to President Bush’s ranch in Texas.

We went to Nigeria, Nicaragua, Mexico, all over Europe, China three times (well four, actually, as he once did a 48-hour commute to sign an agreement with Lennox Lewis), and South Africa to meet with Nelson Mandela, who wanted to thank him for years of financial support for the ANC when he was in prison on Robben Island. Mandela gave King a T-shirt with his prison number on it, the name of a charity he was launching. King replied, ‘Is this your prison number? You know I have one, too.’

All that has been documented by my camera, an eyewitness to King’s life.

The boxing promoter, who burst on to the scene in 1974 with Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman in the legendary ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, in what was then Zaire, and then Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier in the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ the following year, has lived a full life.

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