Fight News

Don King’s Wife Succumbs to Cancer

Henrietta King, the wife of legendary boxing promoter Don King, passed away last night (December 2)...

Henrietta King, the wife of legendary boxing promoter Don King, passed away last night (December 2).

Henrietta, aged 87, had been under hospice care since November 30. She was moved after showing no significant improvement during her time at a hospital in South Florida.

“She died from a lengthy illness,” confirmed Alan Hopper, Public Relations VP for Don King Productions. “Don is with the family right now. It was one of those things where she just died quietly and peacefully.”

His wife’s illness put on hold two important business decisions for King: finalizing the location of the January 29, 140 unification bout between Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley, and completing negotiations to represent Floyd Mayweather in future fights. On the former, Don King told reporter Michael Marley that Timothy Bradley’s promoter, Gary Shaw, stepped up and got Michigan’s Pontiac Silverdome secured.

“I just supported Gary Shaw on that situation,” King said. “My mind has not been on that or anything else to do with boxing. It’s all Gary, Gary and the guy who owns the stadium.”

On Mayweather, King revealed that the undefeated fighter has been very supportive during this difficult time, and not focused on their pending business arrangement.

“Floyd is here right now. Floyd is very concerned about me and especially about my wife,” King said yesterday before Henrietta’s death. “Really, Floyd has just been a great guy on this. Floyd has been very, very kind.”

In the 1960s, Don met Henrietta through a business associate who was previously married to her. All were involved in the numbers business, which King removed himself from in favor of boxing after being released from prison in 1971 (King served three-years and 11 months for manslaughter). In boxing, Henrietta King managed several accounts for her husband under her name, but shied away from the spotlight her husband embraced.

The loss of a companion of several decades gave way to quiet reflection, something many have never seen in Don King.

“I’ve lost my best friend,” is all King could say to Alan Hopper.

At press time, ESPN reports that funeral arrangements are being planned for their native Cleveland area.

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