The man now king of all he surveys

Don King is the real heavyweight hitter in the boxing world, says James Cusick
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The Independent Online
"Frank Bruno has carved hope out of a mountain of despair. He was given a fourth chance and hit a grand slam home run." The man in the grey spidery hair with the flowing language who was sitting next to the new WBC heavyweight champion was not the poet laureate. But if Don King tried to do a deal with the Queen for the title, Her Majesty would do well to come out with only a tiara left.

King is the king of deals in boxing. Bruno might hold the title, but, as King pointed out yesterday, "I was out of the heavyweight business a year ago, now I got all the belts." Where Frank Bruno will go next will, as King admitted, be down to Bruno. But for how much, who, and when will depend on King.

Bruno looked super sharp sitting next to King, his cream suit contrasting with King's grey jacket and black polo shirt. But, like any King deal, you have to look closer. On the hand of boxing's supreme deal-maker there is a diamond ring as big as a Rubik cube. On his wrist there is a watch that has more diamond sparklers than there are cats' eyes on the M25.

"There is a glorious abundance of directions we can go now," King said. Then he went to work. He promised those who had not seen the fight they "would see a master at work". They would see in Bruno a man who has "dropped the gauntlet" in front of Mike Tyson. Who controls Tyson? Don King.

Still in his salesman mode, King praised another king, Rupert Murdoch. Then the point of the praise was explained. King clearly sees the future deal for Bruno being linked to Sky television's ability to put into operation a pay-per-view system before Bruno next takes to the ring.

Over a future deal with Lennox Lewis, King was not unhelpful. "We, me and Frank Maloney [Lewis's manager] had dinner the other night. But the only people making deals are Frank and myself."

King threw down his own gauntlet. "If Lennox Lewis doesn't hurry up and make a deal he'll be a forgotten man."

King claims to have made Lewis millions and "got beaten up" for his time. "If there was a text book on how to fail, Lennox Lewis's management would be professors in how to spoil things."

King clearly likes money. He talks money. For the cream of heavyweights he's their royal meal ticket. And numbers for big Frank? "I'm far beyond $300m stuff, that's small potatoes. You need billions to deal with me."

You also need a dictionary and probably a bible. "This is catharsis, a resurrection of souls. Its all falling into place. Its God's plan. I couldn't do it all by myself," he said describing Tyson and his own comeback into the big time.

But what of his enemies? What of those who have wronged him? For this, King has own philosophy and from it Bruno can become rich, very rich.

Laughing with all the sincerity of a Swiss banker, he said: "I don't care what you say about me, give me $12m and we'll work it out." Indeed you would.

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