The "King" comes back to Cleveland

James W. Wade III | 2/11/2014, 9:30 p.m.
According to King, this fight will feature the next generation of boxers, the evolution of future champions. Featured on the ...
Legendary Boxing Promoter Don King with Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson at press conference about big fight coming to Cleveland Feb. 21, at the Wolstein Center Photo by MYCHAL LILLY

By James W. Wade III

Sports Editor

Forty years after promoting one of the biggest sporting events in world, the Rumble in the Jungle, Legendary Boxing Promoter Don King wants to help put Cleveland back on the map by hosting a major boxing event at Cleveland State’s Wolstein Center on Feb. 21.

A press conference, to announce the event, was held at Cleveland City Hall in the Red Room with Mayor Frank G. Jackson yesterday. After prayer by the Rev. E. T. Caviness, pastor of the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church, Jackson gave a short welcome and outlined the collaboration with King, who has dubbed the fight as “Cleveland Show for People Care: Let’s Do it for Cleveland, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”

According to King, this fight will feature the next generation of boxers, the evolution of future champions. Featured on the card will be Angelo Santana (14-1, 11 KOs) vs. Hank Lundy (23-3-1, 11 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight main event.

During the press conference, Jackson said he’s happy to see a fight come to Cleveland.

“Cleveland is a great city and I want to thank Don King for bringing this event back to his hometown. It shows how much Cleveland has to offer and that we are a world class city,” said Jackson. “And, it shows that Clevelanders never forget where they come from.”

King and Jackson had been discussing doing something for awhile and finally came up with a solid plan. “This is the beginning of what we hope are a series of fights. The more successful this one is, in terms of fans showing up, will only increase the opportunity to bring more. We look forward to this being the beginning,” said Jackson.

King smiled in grand style as he shared fond memories of growing up in Cleveland.

“I’m an out-of-the-box thinker,” said King. “If I went with custom and tradition, I’d still be sitting on the curb here in Cleveland. There’s a shortness of time but that helps us rise to the occasion. It’s going to be a success because of the mere fact that we’re here.”

On hand with King were attorneys Clarence Rogers and George Forbes, who helped with King’s Forest City Hospital charity boxing event featuring Muhammad Ali at Cleveland Arena in 1972.

“This marks the historical return of Don King to the place where it all started,” said King.

The fight will be the highlight but King is also honoring all the military for their great service to our country “Only in America.”

“I am glad to see Mr. King bring a fight to Cleveland,” said Horseshoe casino General Manager Marcus Glover.

Opening the 10:45 p.m., the telecast on Showtime will be a 10-round super lightweight bout between Amir “Young Master” Imam (12-0, 11 KOs) and Jared “The Quiet Storm” Robinson (14-0, 6 KOs). Tickets are $35, $75, and $125. They go on sale Thurs. Feb. 13 at 5 p.m. and can be purchased through the Wolstein Center box office, wolsteincenter.com or charge-by-phone (877) 468-4946.