Don King testified today that he protested to boxing officials after the eighth round of the James (Buster) Douglas-Mike Tyson fight, but he didn't expect it to be stopped. He said he only felt obliged to point out an error.
King said at the trial of his breach of contract suit against Douglas and manager John Johnson that he told ringside officials: "The fight should be over; that was a long count. The referee panicked."
But when asked by his attorney, Robert Hirth, if the fight could have been stopped, the promoter said: "No, you can't stop the fight.
"You have to bring an error to the officials' attention because your reputation is on the line. If the officials admonish the referee and call it to his attention, he won't do it again. At this stage of the game--it was the eighth round--nobody knew which way the fight was going to go."
Douglas got up from the knockdown to knock out Tyson in the 10th round for the undisputed world heavyweight title.
"If something had gone wrong, they would say, 'There's Don King. There's something clandestine. They're fixing the fight,' " King gave as a reason for making his protest.
On Monday, King was a voice from the past, booming on an audiotape of a post-fight news conference from Tokyo on Feb. 11. "There's the facts," the voice roared. "Mike Tyson knocked out James (Buster) Douglas."
Douglas and Johnson have sued King in federal court in Nevada, contending he breached Douglas' promotional contract by trying to get the victory overturned.
King contends he was only trying to get an immediate rematch between Douglas and Tyson and was not trying to overturn the outcome.
The Douglas-Johnson suit has been pending the outcome of this trial, in which King is suing them for breaching his promotional contract by signing a contract with the Mirage hotel-casino at Las Vegas for a fight against Evander Holyfield.
King is suing the Mirage for allegedly inducing Douglas to break his agreement with King.