King was sentenced to prison in 1967 on a manslaughter charge for beating a man to death.
On April 20, 1966, Don King walked into the Manhattan Tap Room and spotted a man by the name of Sam Garrett—a former employee in King's racket who owed him $600 on a bet. Sickly, small, and drug-addicted, Garrett was no match for King. But King was in no mood for forgiveness.
Their argument very quickly turned into a brawl, and then a beating in the street outside the bar, a beating that ultimately left Garrett dead from his injuries. King claimed self-defense, and witness accounts vary, but for the first officer on the scene, the beating was a brutal, almost demonic assault.
Paroled in 1971, King entered the business of boxing. The next year he persuaded Muhammad Ali to compete in a benefit exhibition to raise money for a Cleveland hospital. Buoyed by this success, and with Ali’s encouragement, King became a full-time promoter with the 1974 Ali-Foreman fight.
King has been a mixed blessing to the sport. On one hand, he has organized some of the largest purses in the history of the sport and has creatively promoted boxing and his bouts. On the other hand, King’s legal problems and controversial tactics have reinforced the public perception of boxing as a corrupt sport.
Muhammad Ali's former promoter Don King has hailed the late three-time world heavyweight champion as a "man for all seasons."
King told Omnisport: "The memory for me with Muhammad Ali, is the stand he took when they ostracized him and convicted him of draft-dodging and were slandering him, character-assassinating him, and he withstood it. Then — when the Supreme Court vindicated him — he turns around and goes 10 years later and knocks out George Foreman. Check out more of what King said about Ali at Sportingnews.com.