cover image Only in America: The Life and Crimes of Don King

Only in America: The Life and Crimes of Don King

Jack Newfield. William Morrow & Company, $23 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10123-7

In 1966, when King was the biggest numbers banker in Cleveland, he beat to death a man who owed him money. After serving fewer than four years of a second-degree murder conviction, he was paroled and immediately got into the boxing promoting business, helped by, among others, rock and roll songwriter/ performer Lloyd Price and Muhammad Ali. Soon, King was arranging the ``Rumble in the Jungle,'' the Ali-Foreman fight in Zaire in 1974, which was followed by the ``Thriller in Manilla,'' the Ali-Frazier fight in 1975. Newfield, in meticulous detail, shows how King promoted white racism and black racism with equal enthusiasm; his ties to the Cleveland mob; how he ``stole'' Larry Holmes; his betrayal of both Price and Ali; his relationship with Mike Tyson; and his very creative bookkeeping, which led to a 1994 indictment for wire fraud. Newfield, a syndicated columnist with the New York Post, has written a scathing portrait of America's #1 boxing promoter. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)