By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Brett Koshkin
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Riverfront Times
By Danny Wicentowski
By Pete Kotz
It doesn't take long for King's answers to go off the rails, nor for the reporters and press representatives on the call to start openly laughing at the far-ranging responses. King evokes ancient history — the 1974 fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali that made him a household name. A mention of the Barclays Center venue sends him on a tangent about owner Jay-Z's wife Beyoncé, "that lovely, divinely lovely young, beautiful lady."
Finally, someone asked if Hopkins' prophecy will come true — will DKP close if Cloud loses on March 9?
"My company has been here 40, 45 years," he started. "My company will not be out of business. If Tavoris does anything, if all of them would leave, it ain't about that. It's about...you!"
King suddenly pivoted on the female reporter asking the question.
"Your right, a woman's right, who also has been denied the rights that we were denied," he said. "That's why they got it in our Declaration of Independence, one man indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. We haven't got there yet, but we're working at it, and we're going to work very tenaciously and dedicatedly and committedly to make them cosmic words come true."
"Only in America!" a male voice on the line interrupted."Only in America!" King parroted back. "The greatest nation in the world!"
In mid-February, like a bolt out of the blue, Coyne received a contract from DKP for a fight with Marcus Oliveira for March 9 — the Cloud versus Hopkins undercard. The contract called for a fair purse and promised HBO airtime.
Coyne, understandably suspicious, pored over the contract with his attorney Pat English, and together they extracted any language that insinuated the promotional contract between Coyne and DKP still exists. Coyne says they sent the heavily edited contract back to Florida mandating "all rights reserved" pending the litigation, expecting never to hear back. But DKP signed without amending it further.
Given the fact that Coyne had just countersued King, he is understandably wary of the sudden friendliness.
"I have some reservations," says Coyne, who immediately began training in Philadelphia under the tutelage of former heavyweight champion and King adversary, Tim Witherspoon. "Anything is possible with King. He's a devious bastard."
Though it's not a title shot, fighting Oliveira will determine who takes the No. 1 ranked spot in the WBA light heavyweight division. The current world champion will be obligated to fight Coyne next if he clinches the victory. Moran calls the deal a "temporary cease-fire."
A source familiar with DKP operations surmises that King not only wants to use the fight in court to show he fulfilled his contractual obligations to Coyne, but thinks King must believe that the Irish Outlaw will fall to Oliveira.
"That guy...is a murderer," the source says of Oliveira.
Coyne, of course, believes he can win.
"We gotta take what's on our plate for the moment," says Coyne. "My job is to fight. This is the one place I'm in control, where lawyers and politics take a back seat to what I can do."
But as it turns out, not even that is true. Less than 24 hours after that last remark in a conversation with RFT, Coyne takes a hit to the left side of his face in a sparring round and feels a surge of warm blood roll down his face.
"How bad is it?" he demands of Moran, ripping his facemask off. "How bad is it?"
Bad. With only two weeks to train before fight night, Moran is forced once again to tell Coyne he's not fighting.
"Sometimes it's like we get no luck," Moran sighs. "Twenty seconds to go in the last round, and he gets cut. It's just boxing."
In a classic example of the discord between Coyne's camp and Don King Productions, Coyne releases close-up photos of his cut along with news that the fight is off to the boxing websites, just hours before DKP issues a press release announcing the March 9 Coyne-Oliveira matchup.
All bumbling aside, the power is back in King's court. He can help Coyne reschedule the fight — there's an April fight card that Moran thinks is perfect — or he can send him back to career purgatory.
In the home Coyne shares with his wife Erica in a nice subdivision in Chesterfield, the skin on Coyne's eyebrow looks swollen and shiny. He ripped the stitches out himself just that morning.
For now, he'll have to wait to see what comes through first — the lawsuit or the next fight.
"I don't trust anybody anymore," he says. "We don't have anything guaranteed until you step through those ropes and the bell rings. You don't know shit. Fighting's the easy part."