LOS ANGELES—Legendary boxing promoter Don King said former four-division champion Adrien Broner’s desire to return to the pinnacle of the sport reminds him of the fire that burned inside all-time great Muhammad Ali.
Broner, 33, has vowed to win a title again, and to do so, he will first need a convincing victory over Bill Hutchinson when they square off in a 10-round welterweight fight in Miami on Friday that will be streamed on FITE.
The American (34-4-1, 24 KOs) last held a title in 2016 and has only fought sporadically since, but his comeback attempt managed to draw the 91-year-old King back to the sport.
“He reminds me of a guy named Muhammad Ali, who believed in himself even when he lost,” King, who promoted Ali’s epic “Rumble in the Jungle” and “Thrilla in Manila” fights in the mid-1970s, told Reuters.
“There’s no such thing as failure, it’s just a setback. There’s no drowning in your own tears, as Ray Charles would say. You’ve got to go back out there and win, you’ve got to kick ass! That’s what Ali taught me about boxing, and he was my first prize fighter.”
Ali, who is widely considered the greatest heavyweight champion of all time, died in 2016 at the age of 74.
Nicknamed “The Problem,” Broner has not fought since his victory in February 2021 over Omar Figueroa and missed one fight due to mental health issues and another when a series of opponents dropped out.
None of that troubles the passionate King, who has been involved in countless controversies in his decades of being one of boxing’s most recognizable figures.
“They call him ‘The Problem’ and many people advised me not to touch him because all he is is trouble, not realizing that they are talking to trouble,” King said.
“Everything I ever did is trouble! My middle name is trouble. Therefore it fits.”