Boxing: Don King

Part 2: Swanson nears charity bout

November, 13, 2013
11/13/13
7:03
PM ET
I crack myself up as I ask Kelly Swanson a question that I've asked her clients countless times.

"What is your prediction?" I ask the Brooklyn resident, who will glove up to fight a three-round bout for charity on Saturday night at Gleason's in Brooklyn.

"If I can fight my fight, and pull off my game plan, I can stop my opponent," she tells me on Wednesday afternoon. I don't doubt it, especially when she tells me that client Bernard Hopkins, the 48-year-old light heavyweight champion, will be working her corner.

Don't tell her foe, but she tipped me off that Floyd Mayweather's "check hook" is her favorite strike, and she could easily see that stopping her opponent, either to the body or the head.

Swanson, one of five kids, grew up in Buffalo and got into boxing after deciding in college that she wanted to get into the sports business. Swanson liked boxing, getting into it as a kid watching the 1976 Olympic Games, featuring Sugar Ray Leonard and the Spinks brothers. The University of Vermont grad wanted to get a job working with Howard Cosell, the loquacious foil to Muhammad Ali, and while that didn't happen, she did meet ex-champion Jose Torres while she was working at a NYC restaurant.

Torres helped introduce her to someone at Alan Taylor Communications, the PR firm. She was there for seven years and decided to go her own way after tasked with an account which included representing a cereal brand.

"It was a reading program, going to libraries, sponsored by this cereal," she told me as I tried to get a sense of why she was choosing to glove up and fight.

She'd met Riddick Bowe while working at the Olympics in 1988, and when Bowe, a Brooklyn native, started to take off, Swanson was hired on by his manager, Rock Newman, who used to do PR for Don King. Now a DC resident, Swanson was on the Bowe merry-go-round until he left the game in 1996; she greatly enjoyed the ride, she said, which included his megabouts with Evander Holyfield, and visits with marquee names like Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul II. Her association with Hopkins, the apparently ageless wonder who is defying the immutable law of aging, beating down young guns while holding the IBF light heavyweight crown, began when Hopkins fought for King.

The last couple years, she's held down the PR fort for Hopkins, as well as Mayweather, the Michigan native who signed a six-fight, $250 million-plus deal in February with Showtime. I dare say keeping those clients happy would be enough on the plate for most folks, so I asked Swanson why she's doing this. To prove something to herself? To better comprehend what her clients go through?

"First, I'm doing it for the kids," she says. "Also, the opportunity to experience something I never experienced in my career, to feel what it feels like to be in the ring and come full circle. I've worked every aspect for the fighters, their personal and professional sides. ... but I could never relate to this part, I've never done it. It's an opportunity to know that, and I already have a newfound appreciate for exactly what they do."

If you can't attend, you can watch a stream:

GO FIGHT LIVE: WWW.GFL.TV

OR

GLEASON'S GYM WEBSITE: WWW.GLEASONS.NET

The event starts at 6:00 p.m. ET and Kelly will fight around 8:00 p.m. ET.

Kelly is fighting in the Fighters 4 Life Showcase, which benefits Gleason's Give A Kid A Dream Foundation, an organization that pairs at-risk youth with trainers to learn fitness and nutrition and possibly become a fighter someday. To donate to the cause go to


To follow the conversation on fight night use #KellysFight.


Follow Woods on Twitter.

Promoter Tyson back from the brink

August, 19, 2013
8/19/13
3:49
PM ET
Mike Tyson's re-branding is the sort of turnaround that just about never happens.

Back in 2008 and 2009, he was depressed, he said, to the point of contemplating suicide, and using drugs in a completely reckless manner. "I was overdosing every night, I couldn't believe I was waking up," Tyson said on a Monday conference call to hype his Aug. 23 debut as a boxing promoter.

But meeting current wife Kiki, and the tragic death of a four-year-old daughter in a treadmill accident in 2009, forced him to snap out of it.

Tyson, now 47, couldn't handle the pressure and fame and mercurial fortunes that were dumped into his lap when at age 20 he won the heavyweight championship, the youngest man to do so. By 2008 or so, he said, he was a "full-blown addict," and couldn't fathom a comeback when then-friend Kiki suggested he do a one-man show on stage and try to get into film work. "Look at the state I'm in," he remembers thinking when Kiki visited and spoke hopefully. "My daughter died, and I wanted to live my life differently," he said.

Look at the state, indeed. Spike Lee is producing his one-man play, which gets rave reviews, and he will kick off another leg of the tour in November. On Nov. 12, his memoir, "Undisputed Truth," gets released. On Friday, he will promote, as part of Iron Mike Productions, a show that will be featured on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights." A title fight between Argenis Mendez, the IBF 130-pound champion, and Arash Usmanee, will top the card at Turning Stone, in Verona, N.Y.

Tyson was asked what he learned from the promoters he worked with, most notably Don King. He said he learned that it isn't proper to put your hands on a business associate when you disagree on terms of a deal or the delivery of promised revenue. "I put my hands on 'em, you should never ever do that," he said. "I was an immature, spoiled kid, I'd never do that again, striking people."

He said he forgives business partners who crossed him, and hopes they forgive him for trying to throttle them. His old edge did peek out a bit when he admitted he's irked that King hasn't been forthcoming with advice or help in this promotional endeavor, though Tyson did say he'd be open to working with his old handler, who turns 82 on Aug. 20 and promotes infrequently. "You will never hear 'Mike Tyson stole from me,' " Tyson said.

Hopkins and Cloud make weight

March, 8, 2013
3/08/13
4:49
PM ET


Bernard Hopkins and Tavoris Cloud both made weight Friday and so we're a step closer to seeing if Hopkins, who turned 48 on Jan. 15, can still be considered the ageless wonder of pugilism, or if that cruel predator Father Time has finally gotten his clutches into the Philly-based legend.

Cloud, who holds the IBF light-heavy crown, was 173.8, while Hopkins, a six-time champ, was 174.4 at a session held in the lobby of Barclays Center. Hopkins (52-6-2 with 32 KOs) was in Executioner mode, intensity emanating from every pore, while Cloud looked loosey-goosey during the ceremony. The Florida-born hitter, who holds a 24-0 (19 KOs) mark, giggled when he inadvertently almost yanked down his underwear as he took off his sweatpants to step on the scale.

The heat in the building rose when the two men did a staredown. Hopkins leaned right into Cloud, put his face on Cloud's, and whispered not-so-niceties into the ear of the Don King-promoted boxer. They were separated and escorted to different parts of the building.

After, one vet boxer I spoke to, not on the card, said he thought Cloud looked drained. But the fighter struck me as very relaxed, and told me that he felt as good as he ever has before a fight. His legs had good bounce in them, he reported. And what was it that Hopkins whispered to him during the staredown? "He said, he didn't want me to beat him up too bad," Cloud said, with a slight grin. "I ain't worrying about what he said, I'm about to end his career. It's irrelevant what he said. I told him I'm going to whup his ass."

His trainer, Abel Sanchez, told me he loves Cloud's mood going into the bout. He said he'd rather have a guy be able to joke some, not be too tight and angry, heading into fight night. "We're going to have to make Hopkins fight," he said, when asked about strategy. "We're not letting him rest." Hopkins has never been stopped, but Cloud seems like he's aiming for that. "Anyone can be stopped," he said to NYFightblog.

It's a good bet, though, that the judges will have the final say at the end of the night on the card promoted by Golden Boy.

If you can't make it to Barclays Center, HBO will show the main event, after a support bout pitting Keith Thurman, a show-closer type, against ex-champ Jan Zaveck.

Readers, feel free to drop a prediction in the comments section.

Schaefer jabs at King

March, 7, 2013
3/07/13
12:10
PM ET
Richard Schaefer has risen in the ranks of boxing deal-makers in the past 10 years in eye-opening and impressive fashion. He came from a banking background, and now stands with Bob Arum, in the business since 1966, as one of the top two promoters in the game.

You can underestimate Schaefer's toughness if you judge by appearance and tone, as he has a Wall Street smoothness and lacks the Brooklyn edge that Arum has. But Schaefer does get his point across, often in a subtly aggressive and slick manner, when he wants to. Like at the Barclays Center presser Wednesday, when he was asked about Don King.

Saturday headliner Bernard Hopkins has said in recent weeks that he'd like to beat King's man Tavoris Cloud because that would mean he'd stick the final nail in King's promotional-company coffin. "That's a harsh thing to say," Schaefer said with a grin. "But Don had his time. There's no need to rub it in, but now it's over."

He continued to toe the line between homage and insult when he said King's rich history enables him to draw on decades of memories. "It's great living in the past," Schaefer said, insinuating without being overt that he think King relies on dated ploys. He said King often yells "Viva Puerto Rico!" and waves the PR flag, even when there is no Puerto Rican fighter on the card.

King deserves to coast, at age 81, Schaefer said: "He should be able to enjoy life."

Schaefer grinned as he shared that he'd gotten a call on his cell that very morning, before the presser. "It was Don King, asking for more money," he said. "It reminded me of when we did De La Hoya versus Ricardo Mayorga."

And the answer was? "What do you think it was?" Schaefer asked, his grin widening.

Yes, Schaefer's shots are often the more the sneaky counter-punch variety than a showy, looping overhand right.

Welcome to Hopkins-Cloud fight week

March, 5, 2013
3/05/13
11:20
AM ET
One day, the theory goes, he will turn old, in the ring, in front of our eyes. That may be, but I will not be the one to predict that Bernard Hopkins will look anything like a typical 48-year-old when he fights Tavoris Cloud in the main event of the Golden Boy show running Saturday (March 9) at Barclays Center.

Predicting that Hopkins (52-6-2) will lose, that he will finally revert to form typical of a non-marvel, didn't serve me well when I figured that young Kelly Pavlik's punching power would spell doom for B-Hop back in October 2008, in Atlantic City. Hopkins showed Pavlik tricks of the trade the Ohioan couldn't decipher, and won a unanimous decision, and a promise from me that I'd never again bet against him.

The oddsmakers like the 24-0 Cloud, age 31, to get the better of Hopkins in Brooklyn, but I recall how much trouble the Don King-promoted boxer had with Gabriel Campillo, a smart pugilist, when they clashed Feb. 18, 2012. I had Campillo winning that bout, but alas, the judges didn't. I see Hopkins, even a 48-year-old Hopkins, with one or two more gray hairs than he had in his last fight, a majority decision loss to Chad Dawson last April, as being a grade above Campillo as an ace pugilist, and wouldn't dare pick Cloud to beat him.

NYFightblog will check in with Hopkins and Cloud today (Tuesday) while they work out in Brooklyn, at Gleason's. Then, we'll cover the final presser on Wednesday for the Saturday show, which will unfold on HBO (9:30 p.m. start). Keith Thurman meets Jan Zaveck to open the show on the tube.

Fight fans can get a closer look at all the principals at the weigh-in Friday, which is open to the public. That will take place at Barclays Center (Atlantic and Flatbush), with doors opening at 12:30 p.m.

Tickets for the show, which starts at 5 p.m. ET, are priced at $200, $100, $85, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes and service charges, and are available for purchase at www.barclayscenter.com, , the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling 800-745-3000.

Keith 'One Time' Thurman opening eyes

March, 1, 2013
3/01/13
11:37
AM ET
I was talking to a boxing manager the other day and he was telling me he doesn't care for the attitudes of many of the boxers today. When he hears a kid he is contemplating signing say, "Skills pay the bills," he said, he's inclined to put away the pen and paper. No, signing cuties who prize not getting hit more than inflicting punishment isn't on his to do list. That manager doesn't manage Keith Thurman, but Thurman, a welterweight who fights March 9 at Barclays Center, is the sort of throwback attacker he'd like to have in his stable.

The 19-0 (1 NC, head clash) Florida resident, who has 18 knockouts to his credit, spoke to NYFightblog about his March 9 bout in Brooklyn against ex-champ Jan Zaveck (32-2 with 18 KOs, ex-IBF welter champ; from Slovenia), his rise to this place and why he calls out the top names in the game.

"I'm psyched to fight in NYC on March 9 at the Nets Center [aka Barclays Center]," Thurman told me. "New York is one of those legendary boxing capitals I've yet to enter, and it feels really great to hit New York up." Thurman-Zaveck is support to a Bernard Hopkins-Tavoris Cloud mainer, on a card promoted by Golden Boy which will run on HBO (9:30 PM ET start).

Thurman opened eyeballs when he took out Brandon Hoskins on the May 5, 2012, on the Mayweather-Cotto PPV undercard, more yet when he stopped Orlando Lora on the July 21, 2012 Broner-Escobedo undercard on HBO, and exponentially more when he stopped (TKO4) slick vet Carlos Quintana on Nov. 24, 2012, underneath the Guerrero-Berto scrap, again on HBO. Zaveck is probably a step up from Quintana, and Thurman isn't assuming he's going to blast him out with ease.

"Zaveck I know is a very tough and durable fighter, he's been in with world champs, he's an ex-world champion, he's 36 and knows if he wants to be champ again the time is now," Thurman said. Good assessment from the fighter, who grew up in a single parent household, with his mother holding the fort after dad left.

He got into boxing at age 7, and found a mentor in trainer Benjamin Getty, who was with Thurman until he died in May 2009. Thurman won silver at the 2008 Olympic trials, to Demetrius Andrade, and turned down a slot as an Olympic alternate. He turned pro in November 2007.

Thurman isn't shy about trying to separate his foes' heads from their shoulders, or calling out those presently higher than him on the ladder. "I called out big fighters in my HBO debut, I called out Malignaggi, Bradley, Floyd Mayweather, I created buzz," he said. "People maybe said why is he calling people out, he hasn't done anything. I don't claim to have done anything but to I want to show you what I'm about to do. It's about letting the world know the future of boxing is Keith "One Time" Thurman."

And that nickname, "One Time," where does that come from?

Thurman said his dad back in the day would throw hands with buddies, and he'd often put someone down with a single body shot: "I am Keith Thurman Junior, I might as well take his nickname. I didn't announce that nickname till I had eight first-round KOs, I didn't want to brand myself right off the bat, I wanted to show what I can do."

My takeaway: His inclination to finish fights, paired with a smart mix of chutzpah and humility has placed Thurman on my must-watch list.

Don King rope-a-dopes Bernard Hopkins

February, 28, 2013
2/28/13
1:56
PM ET
The Wednesday conference call to hype the March 9 Barclays Center showdown between 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins and the young-enough-to-be-his son Tavoris Cloud lasted over an hour, and co-promoter Don King was present for the second half of the call.

King, from his residence in Florida, came on after Golden Boy Promotions' Hopkins talked about licking his chops at the thought of landing the final blow on on King's career, who at 81 has limited his promotional efforts in recent years to a relative trickle.

As Hopkins talked about having zero remorse at possibly finishing off Don King Promotions, seeing as how Cloud, the IBF 175 pound champ, is his biggest name client, I found myself wondering how King would fire back.

And when his turn came to speak, The Don didn't counter.

He rope-a-doped.

He called Hokins a master, a legend, and almost made it sound like it would be a pleasure to have the elder craftsman whup his 31-year-old guy, Cloud.

I briefly noted to myself that King had gone soft, that age had worn his flinty side to a dull blade ... but I quickly smartened up. No, the old man still has it. To thunder back at Hopkins would be playing into the Philly boxer's hands, and his psyche. Hopkins uses negativity as fuel. He loves it when we underestimate him, write that -- finally -- this will be the time when the whippersnapper sends him to the hammock. As far back as 2001, we've been doing that.

'Felix Trinidad will blast out the old man,' we said, when the "old man" was just 35. 'Oscar De La Hoya will be too much for the faded Hopkins,' some wrote in 2004. And we know he won those contests ...

'Surely Jermain Taylor will be too strong, too active, too young, for the old guy,' we said in 2005, before Hopkins dropped two controversial decisions to the kid, and showed himself to be unlike the average boxer for whom time becomes the enemy after turning 32 or so. Similar estimations were made -- that he was too old, and his foe too fresh -- before fights against Joe Calzaghe, Kelly Pavlik, Jean Pascal and Chad Dawson. And every time, Hopkins pre-fight railed against our temerity and ignorance ... and likely subconsciously thanked us, for helping him get motivated for the grind.

On Wednesday, OG Don King used kindness instead. He complimented and chuckled, reminded all that he and Hopkins share the bond of an incarceration stint, and wouldn't be lured into the deep waters with one of the handful of players in the pugilism pool who can hang with him in the arena of psychological operations.

Both men still have it, and have forgotten more about the art and science of using one's mouth to sell and win a fight than we'll ever learn. I promised after Hopkins schooled young Pavlik that I'd never again publicly pick against him, and I stand by that. As for King, I think Don will exit on his own terms, when he's damn well ready, not before.

Cloud says volume key to beat Hopkins

January, 17, 2013
1/17/13
10:21
PM ET
It’s a good time to be a boxing writer in NYC. On Thursday, I soaked up intel at Madison Square Garden ahead of Saturday’s Top Rank show topped by an Orlando Salido-Mikey Garcia clash. On Monday, Golden Boy had a presser at Barclays Center to announce the March 9 card topped by 48 year-old Bernard Hopkins, who takes on light heavyweight champ Tavoris Cloud.

The 31-year-old Cloud told me he took in some New York flavor, to a point. He hit Lucali in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, a stellar pizza joint. But he didn’t mow slices, he said. Nope, with fight night eight weeks away, Cloud is in trim-down mode. “I ate the toppings only,” he said. The Florida-born hitter, who said he's walking around at 188, chewed on cheese, artichokes, onions and greens.

He said he’d beat Hopkins, who is looking to break his own record as the oldest fighter to win a world title. Hopkins was 46 when he beat Jean Pascal, bettering 45 year-old George Foreman's mark. Foreman dropped and stopped Michael Moorer in 1994. And how does he know he’ll beat Hopkins, one of the sport’s all-time savviest practitioners? “I’m psychic,” Cloud told NYFightblog, chuckling.

Cloud said he’s trying to stop eating meat, and has been studying proper nutrition and eating habits. “I don’t eat bread, or fried food,” he said. “Me neither,” piped in Alan Hopper, the publicist for Cloud’s promoter, Don King. I believe him; Hopper looks to be in light heavyweight territory. “I’ve lost 60 pounds,” he reported. Is his regimen and shrinkage rubbing off on Big Don? “Yeah, Don’s been looking at me,” he said, grinning.

Cloud said he expects the best Hopkins, not the guy who lost a majority decision in his last outing to Chad Dawson. “I didn’t watch it, but I heard he looked like s---t,” Cloud said.

How will he beat ex-champ? “I’ll beat him throwing punches,” he said. “I’m not going to complicate it. Same way I win all my fights.”

The NYFightBlog 2012 Boxer of the Year

December, 31, 2012
12/31/12
4:25
PM ET
Boxing in New York picked up the pace in 2012. The new series at the Barclays Center took off, and the debut in October was a success. Having a focal point is an immense boost to the local scene, as young fighters can know that they have a stage ready for them when they're ready to rock. Madison Square Garden has taken notice and is getting more active booking fights cards, with a slate booked into the Theater Jan. 19. All these men can benefit from the amped-up buzz in NYC.

Ladies and gents, here is your 2012 NYC Top Ten Pound-For-Pound List.

1) PETER QUILLIN He has an XL personality and his boxing has been improving, fight by fight. No reason why Quillin shouldn't be a full-on star in 2013. The 29-year-old Manhattan resident retired Winky Wright in June, and then whacked Hassan N'Dam around, exiting the Barclays Center with the WBO middleweight belt, on Oct. 20. He is the NYFightBlog BOXER OF THE YEAR. (No. 3 last year)

2) PAULIE MALIGNAGGI Paulie escaped the Barclays Center with a W over young Mexican rumbler Pablo Cano on Oct. 20, and was looking forward to a career-best payday rematch against Ricky Hatton. Hatton's body didn't cooperate, and he was stopped in his return bout. So the 32-year-old Bensonhurst tactician is still hunting Plan B. We wonder -- and suspect he wonders -- if he has lost a quarter-step, or if he can return in his next bout in fine form, with peppy legs, a busy jab, the whole package. We're betting yes ... but just in case, he's been setting up business prospects and is doing a bangup job as an analyst for Showtime, so if he has lost a foot off his fastball, 2013 will find Malignaggi with options regardless. (No. 2 last year)

3) DANNY JACOBS Last year, he thought he would die. This year, Jacobs has been climbing his way up the middleweight ladder, and doing it with as much grace and charm as any pugilist out there. The Park Slope resident, age 25, looks to rise to 25-1 when he gloves up Feb. 9 at Barclays. He kicked cancer's ass, I suspect he will do the same a few times in the ring this year, and by the end of the year, he should be ready to tackle a titlist. I root for him -- sorry, just being honest. (No. 8 last year)

4) ARGENIS MENDEZ The Dominican-born Brooklyn resident won an IBF super featherweight title eliminator over Martin Honorio in July, so we can presume an opportunity will pop for the 20-2 hitter soon. He came up short against Juan Carlos Salgado for the vacant IBF super feather belt in 2011, but we're betting he gets over the title hump in 2013. At 26, he should be in his physical prime. (N0. 5 last year)

5) ZAB JUDAH The Brownsville native is 35, and we're tempted to say he's looking at his last chance when he meets junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia at Barclays in the headliner Feb. 9. But Judah is a name, and a character, and even if he can't get the better of the under-appreciated Philly hitter, Judah will continue to receive opportunities. He's been talking tough ahead of the Garcia bout, and dad is back in his corner, but we still recall the stinkbomb effort he turned in against Amir Khan in July 2011. Will Good Zab or Bad Zab show up at Barclays? (No. 7 last year)

6) JOSEPH AGBEKO Last year's No. 1 went 0-for-2012, as the Bronx based Ghanian didn't glove up once this year. He could have fallen off the list but he gets consideration for what he's done. The 28-2 32-year-old is slated to meet 34-8-1 Luis Melendez on Feb. 22, so he could rise again next year if he regains his step. (No. 1 last year)

6) JOAN GUZMAN The Dominican formerly known as Little Tyson tasted defeat for the first time, losing a technical decision to 17-0 Khabib Allakhverdiev on Nov. 30. At 36, it looks like Guzman (33-1-1) has lost a mile off his fastball. Can he transition to being a clever junkballer, or will he be off this list next year? (Guzman No. 4 last year)

7) PATRICK HYLAND The Irish transplant lost his 0, when Javier Fortuna beat him, with the interim WBA feather crown up for grabs, on Dec. 8, underneath Pacquiao-Marquez, but showed he belonged at that class. We suspect he will learn from the loss and might well come back stronger, secure in the knowledge that that sized stage is appropriate for him. And whatever happens, he can take this to his grave: he is the top boxer in the stable of MTV's Snooki. (Not rated last year)

8) LUIS COLLAZO The 32-5 Queens-based boxer looked sharper than I expected in a win against Steve Upsher Chambers on the first Barclays card. An ex welterweight champion, he's 31, has his head on straight, is freed from promotional entanglements (cough Don King cough) and is backed by Golden Boy, which has the pull to get him opportunities. It is up to him to keep winning, and 2013 could be the year he gets to wrap another belt around his waist. (No. 16 last year)

9) EDDIE GOMEZ The 20-year-old from the Bronx fought and won five times this year. He has confidence galore and perhaps the skills to match it. If he stays healthy, and doesn't let rising fame mess with his head, 2013 could be a breakthrough year for Gomez (12-0). We can see him headlining a ShoBox by the end of the year. (Not rated last year)

10) DMITRIY SALITA/HECTOR CAMACHO JR (TIE) These two will clash underneath Garcia-Judah at Barclays on Feb. 9. The winner gets this spot, the loser drops off. The 35-1 Salita, age 30, is slightly favored for the 152 or under contest, as the 34 year-old Camacho was knocked out cold in his last outing, by 12-1-1 Luis Grajeda in July. (Salita No. 20, Camacho No. 15 last year)

Honorable Mention: Sechew Powell (No. 10 last year), Joe Hanks (last year not rated), Seanie Monaghan (last year not rated), Will Rosinsky (last year not rated), Chris Algieri (last year not rated), Gabriel Bracero (last year No. 13)

Ex-champ Collazo has been a bit off radar

October, 19, 2012
10/19/12
7:10
PM ET
The packed card at the Barclays Center in Prospect Heights tomorrow night features one certain Hall of Famer, young guns with fresh faces and compelling back stories to stir media interest, and the pride of Bensonnhurst, Paul Malignaggi, who will walk triumphantly to center stage, showing off his WBA welterweight title to adoring friends and family.

But there is a guy on the card who is a former world champ, who has fought and been competitive with some of the game's top dogs, who grew up and lives in nearby Williamsburg, but has been a bit off the radar, both in the game and in the lead-up to the boxing debut at the new building.

Luis Collazo, a 31-year-old welterweight, will have to work hard to collect a bigger sliver of spotlight at Barclays when he gloves up against Steve Upsher Chambers in a scrap set for eight or less.

I asked Collazo, in so many words, where the heck he has been. After a June 2009 victory, he wasn't in the ring again until April 2011. He scored a TKO3, then met Freddy Hernandez six months later. Collazo lost a UD10, and was again on the shelf.

I had heard whispers on the grapevine, so I tried to tactfully ask the fighter if there was anything to them? Had he been on state-sponsored vacation? Battling an urge to splurge when it came to the partying department? "Nope, I was never locked up, and I was never on drugs," he told me. "My only addiction is tattoos."

Collazo explained that he was signed to Don King, and since King hasn't been staging that many cards in the last few years, he was inactive. "I was on the shelf," he said. "But I haven't been in wars. I feel great, I'm in my prime now."

Collazo said he's pumped to fight in front of the Williamsburg crew. That section is a hipster haven now, but Collazo has seen it morph, when a seedy element, lots of drugs and prostitution, were prevalent. He said he's ready, like Billyburg, to move up the ladder, stand out as one of the borough's best.

He won a WBA welter crown against Jose A. Rivera in 2005, was in a pick 'em scrap with Ricky Hatton the following year, and dropped UDs to Shane Mosley and Andre Berto in 2007 and 2009, respectively. Getting back to 2005 form is a tall order, but he insists that physically and mentally, he's primed: "At Barclays, I have to be aggressive, take my time and let my experience kick in."

Don King's turkey truck is hijacked

December, 17, 2011
12/17/11
6:44
PM ET
They say the boxing biz is befouled with characters of ill repute. But c’mon, let’s talk turkey here. Specifically, the load of turkeys which Don King had purchased for his annual turkey giveaway to needy folks in South Florida.

The Don, who lives in Delray Beach and has his office in Deerfield Beach, learned that 2,000 turkeys went missing Thursday, late-night. The truck they were in, and the birds, were found near Pompano Beach, on Friday. But since the birds had been absconded with, and no one was sure if they had been kept properly cooled, they had to be trashed.

"They told me that the truck had been hijacked. I felt deeply hurt and saddened, and it really hurts me, because I know how the people feel about being promised something like this and then it doesn't happen,” King told WSVN.com.

But the show will go on. The high-haired impresario promised that more birds would be secured and a new date for the bird bonanza will be determined.

The Grinch responsible for the felonious turkey trot won’t have the last laugh. The spirit of the holidays cannot and will not be kayoed by the work of this fowl felon.

Video: Don King remembers 9/11

September, 8, 2011
9/08/11
6:59
PM ET
Don King talks about the days leading up to the Felix Trinidad-Bernard Hopkins fight at Madison Square Garden in September of 2001 and his experience in New York following the Sept. 11 attacks.

SPONSORED HEADLINES