Don King knows how to generate hype. Blessed with the right combination of “wit, grit and bullshit,” this bigger-than-life boxing promoter has built a billion-dollar empire by giving customers exactly what they want in ways they never imagined possible. Pull up a ringside seat as he shares his insights on how to succeed in business.
Always give your best
Long regarded as one of the hardest-working men in sports, King has always believed in giving his maximum effort. “You have to go out there and make things happen for the people,” he says. “Show your appreciation for them being there and give them the best of your entertainment, capabilities and qualifications.”
Deliver the goods
Whether promoting the “Thrilla in Manila” or a back alley dustup between a pair of no-name street fighters, King has always tried to give fans their money’s worth. “You have to give the people what they want,” he explains. “When that happens, all you’ll hear is ‘when is the next show?’ I believe in promoting the people. That’s why I say I’m a promoter of the people, for the people, and by the people. My magic lies in my people ties.”
Create your market
A true maverick, King has never let the market dictate his strategy. “In business, you have supply and demand,” he explains. “All right, now, where there is no demand, you have to create it. And then you have to create a supply to fulfil that demand. Now you've got something to sell, something with which to make things happen.”
Concentrate on quality, not quantity
King has never been concerned when his fights end in a first round knockout, so long as the action is entertaining and memorable. “You go for the quality of the performance, not the longevity of it,” he says.
Never give up
In boxing as in life, King has always valued perseverance and resilience. “You're in it to win it, you can't give up, you can't give in and you can't quit, no matter what endeavour you try to take on,” he stresses. “It's always a struggle, no gain without pain... You can be the greatest guy in the world but if you ain't got no heart, you ain't gonna survive.”