Promoter Don King announced today that he will pay tribute to Michael Jackson at a world championship boxing event King has slated for July 11 at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. King plans to give Jackson boxing’s traditional ringside 10 bell count honoring those who have passed and to play Jackson’s music and videos at King’s previously announced fight card highlighted by an International Boxing Federation bantamweight championship between titleholder Joseph King Kong Agbeko and world champion Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan, who is moving up in weight to face Agbeko. This match will be televised live on SHOWTIME beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
King promoted the historic Jacksons Victory Tour in 1984 that reunited the Jackson 5, and he brokered a colossal endorsement deal between Michael Jackson and Pepsi.
“I was shocked and saddened when I learned of Michael’s passing, and I shared the pain of Joseph and Katherine Jackson—without whom there never would have been a Michael Jackson—and their sons and daughters,” King said.
“One never knows how they will react to something like this, and I found it hard to do media interviews or even issue a statement. Like so many other people around the world, I have been trying to find a way to remember this musical genius, who I loved and was a good friend of mine. My next boxing event is on July 11, so I have decided to pay tribute to him there in any way we can think of.”
King is searching through his photo and film archives and has found some rare, behind-the-scenes video clips of him with Michael Jackson and the Jackson family from the time in which they worked together. King plans to play these clips at his boxing event in tribute to Michael Jackson.
“The Jackson 5 was black America’s first family when they arrived on the scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s,” King said. “Then everyone in America came to embrace them as their own. They were groundbreaking in that regard. America’s first family today, the Obama family, is part of a transformation in America that began with the Jackson family. Family is the most important thing of all and something black people were stripped of when our country was ruled by that peculiar institution. That’s why we say, REMEMBER IOWA where the baby was born: hope, change, freedom.”