Don King Understands, Speaks Floyd Mayweather's Language
The subject: King's wooing of five-time titlist Floyd Mayweather with the goal of matching him against seven-division king Manny Pacquiao, perhaps in the spring. In order to do so, King invited the unbeaten fighter to his Florida home last week, and has also brought in Mayweather to be a ringside guest for Alexander-Kotelnik.
In this Q&A, the 78-year-old King shed light on why he believes himself to be better suited toward working out a deal with longtime rival and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter than Mayweather's present handlers, Golden Boy Promotions and adviser, Al Haymon, who have twice failed to bring Mayweather-Pacquiao to fruition.
Warning: the interview below is transcribed verbatim, and includes some profane language.
FanHouse: So I understand that Floyd Mayweather is in St. Louis to be your guest at ringside for Saturday night's fight?
Don King: Yes he is. I just got off of the telephone with him two seconds ago. He's going to call me right back again. If he wants me, he knows that I'm there for him. Everything is everything. He can't lose if he comes to see me, because the price goes up from where he's at. If he comes with me, the price soars, because, with him, he and I can generate more capital than anyone alive.
Can you shed light on the notion that sometime in the spring of 2009, you and Floyd almost hooked up a few months before his comeback victory over Juan Manuel Marquez?
Yes, so this time, it's going to be like a family reunion. The last time that he was here I had $45 million on the table for him. That was the last time when he came to see me at my house. I made arrangements with him and his aide, Tommy Smalls. They brought him to me, and he stayed at my house.
And he said, "Help me out, man." So I went to work. He wanted $15 million, and then I found a way to supplement him with another $30 million. So we had made a deal, man. We had a handshake deal and I had already told Bob Arum that before their guys had nixed it, that we would be getting the s**t on [with Pacquiao].
This was before he fought Juan Manuel Marquez. He would have signed with me and I would have had him. He could have fought anybody he wanted to fight because Floyd Mayweather is the best in the world, man. So Manny Pacquiao would certainly be a part of the pie and would definitely be in there.
And then, the last day, after the deal was done, he stayed with something that they [his previous promoters] had him going on. And Floyd lost the opportunity of a lifetime. But I just smiled, because you know what. If Floyd wants me, then he's got me. And if he don't want me, then I still love him because it's more than about me and him and some prize fight.
Floyd is a generous guy, and a lovable guy. They don't understand that. They make him look like a piece of s**t, but he ain't no piece of s**t. So this weekend, wherever I'll be, he'll be there also.
So how much have you and Floyd spoken about a potential matchup with Manny Pacquiao?
You know what? I'm not interested in just the Manny Pacquiao fight. I'm interested in Floyd Mayweather. What I try to do is to get him. And when I get him, everything else is included. That's why they made the mistakes. They're all into the greed. I'm not in for the greed business, I'm in for the need business.
When you get the man, then you've got everything. And I've got the man with the plan. Me and Bob Arum can pull this Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao s**t off in two seconds, you know what I'm saying. I'm talking in two shakes of a lamb's tail. It would be fitting and proper for Bob and I to work on this because we're used to what it means.
Rather than think about what it seems to be. You've got to be able deal with what is real. You've got to be able to deal with the hypocrisy in a manner that you understand. If you don't understand, then you're apprehensive. They [Mayweather's promoters] don't speak ghetto-ese like Floyd Mayweather does, do you understand? I mean, that's like hieroglyphics to them. So they may talk to the man like they're talking down to the man. Talking around the man. Or looking at the man in a condescending manner, you know what I mean? They look at him like he's an indentured servant when in actuality he's the hottest thing on the planet.
That's what it is. It's a disrespect of cultures. You must be able to respect people's cultures and to be able to know what they're thinking and feeling. You've got to be able to stand in their shoes. You've got to be able to look out of their eyeballs. Other than that, if you try to convince a man against his will, then he'll be of the same opinion still.
So you're saying that you speak Floyd's language more than Golden Boy Promotions and his adviser, Al Haymon?
I happen to speak ghetto-ese because I'm one of them. Because you know what? We understand. Many people can't speak hieroglyphics, because that's what ghetto-ese is to them. They can't speak it. If you can't communicate, relate and identify, how are you going to make a deal?
You going to bombard him over the head saying you're going to make him $40 million? For that kind of money, most (expletive) would turn a trick. But it didn't work with Floyd Mayweather. So people were like, "Floyd's got to be a go***mn fool," and, "Floyd's got to be insane."
But your manhood is worth more than $40 million. I don't talk trash, I talk cash. I understand that because I've been without. If I've learned one thing, then that's that the power of your human nature and your pride and your self-worth is worth more than money. Money is a supporter of power, and power is a creator of money.
I mean, his promoters didn't understand. They already had Bob Arum on one side with Manny Pacquiao, and they say that they're with him, but at the same time, they don't defend him. Look how he's getting beaten up in the press. Look how he's being castigated and vilified. Nobody knows how to defend him.
Everybody's looking at him with a jaundiced eye. They're saying he's a coward, and he's a this and he's a that. They're finding all kinds of ways to make him out to be like he's the most selfish individual who has ever existed on the planet Earth when in actuality he's got a blessing from God that he has the skill and the talent that he can rise above the fray with the creme de la creme.
Floyd Mayweather has the ability to self-promote to the point where they would offer him $40 million. But if he was with me, it would be $100 million. That's the difference. In addition, he would keep his dignity and his pride intact. They treat him like he's a cow or a horse, and like he's property. But you've got to get that s**t out the way.
Are you confident that you can sign Floyd Mayweather this time?
No. That's going to be his prerogative and his decision. But I'm confident of this: I'm confident that I'm available for him. All of them are pursuing what they can do with a Manny Pacquiao fight. I'm pursuing what I can do with a young African-American who has the skill and abilities to be able to help others.
My job is to help other people and not just be able to help him. I can help him to help himself, and then, he has the ability of spreading community unity by being able to say, 'Yes I can,' when everyone else says, 'No you can't.' My objective is altogether different.
He has to ask me, I cannot ask him. Then I'll become a mercenary and reduce myself to the same standard. I'm not the same standard. So if he came with me, then we could fight anybody in the world without fighting Manny Pacquiao and I would still make him a lot of money.
Whoever makes Mayweather-Pacquiao, it's going to be worth x amount of money. But when I make it, it's going to be triple that x amount. And remember this: Floyd called me, I didn't call him. I did not seek him out the last time, and I did not seek him out this time.
Remember that he came to me. Now, if he can do himself and the world a favor, then I would be the most honored and appreciative guy in the world to have another brother that I can promote as a free man. Nothing would please me more.