Don King came out swinging today during questioning about the propriety of promoting professional fights at federal facilities.
Headed by a heavyweight bout between Johnny Boudreaux and Scott LeDoux, Don King Productions, in conjuction with the American Broadcasting Co., will present quarterfinal matches in the "United States Boxing Championship Series" Sunday at 12:30 at Halsey Field House at the U.S. Naval Academy. Admission is free. Televising of the action begins at 3 p.m.
Asked at a news conference what financial arrangements were made for use of the building, King said, "I'm glad you asked.
"Some congressman may want to make a heading and ask why a government facility is being used for a private promotion. Well, the Navy is not spending a dime."
He blamed "jealous" members of the promotional "establishment" for raising the issues.
In jest, King was asked if he "rented" the aircraft carrier Lexington for the first series of bouts at Pensacola, Fla., last month.
"No," King said, "it was just sitting there. I paid for everything on top of it (equipment installed for the botus.)
He carried "the (promotional) establishment being piqued with jealousy. Some fighters have not come into my tournament because some other promoters do not want me to succeed. Other fighters have tried to discourage some of those fighters from participating. I get upset when I see people shooting salvo after salvo against us.
"Other fighters can still come in while we're in the quarterfinals. I say, come in and join us for a better American."
Alluding again to presumed resentment, King said, "I'm a promoter extraodinaire. Whether you like it or not, I'm the best.
"I was not invited to the board room (of established promotional firms). I kicked the door down. Now, I'm at 30 Rock (Rockfeller Center in New York City).
"It's only fitting and proper that I go to other military installations. I'm trying for Lackland Air Force Base (in San Antonio) on March 27, I' m trying for the marine base at Camp Lejeune. I'd love to put on a heavyweight title fight at a military installation . . . We'd love to go to West Point if we can get cleared.
"It's Don King Productions against the undertaker of boxing, he said, referring to Madison Square Garden in New York City and, more particularly its matchmaker, Teddy Brenner, of whom King said, "He gets up-and-coming guys knocked off (with alleged mismatches)."
King accused the Garden of "allowing Bob Arum Chead of a rival firm, Top Rank, Inc.) to garnisheee my salary (for managing a fighter in a bout at the Garden) before we even collected his purse."
King said his firm is receiving about $1.5 million from ABC to provide 16 dates in this tournament series. He disclosed that heavyweights, the big attractions, are paid $15,000 a bout, light heaveweights $10,000, and ightweights and featherweights $7,500.
Asked how many fighters he is controlling in the promotions, King said, "I don't control any. I have the right of first refusal, to match any offers they might get from another promoter. Once a fighter is defeated in the tournament. I have no option on him, but I will still be interested in helping him."
King was accompanied by former heavyweight champion Joe Lewis. He conducted the news conference in a grand manner, saying he was out to "make a better America, as is my good friend Jimmy Carter," that he was "negotiating with Gen. Daniel James Jr. - a black man - for future use of the U.S. Air Force Academy." He preferred to Capt. James A. Winnefeld, commandant of midshipmen, as "my new admiral."
Comandant Winnefeld said he was happy to have the bout at the academy.
King insisted yesterday that he is still trying to stage the March 17 fight between George Foreman and Jimmy Young at Capitol Center, rather than in Puerto Rico. And he said earlier in the day that he hopes to stage a tuneup fight for Muhammad Ali in May in Korea, a prelude to a summer title defense against Foreman.