Don King for Sports Illustrated

Don King

A few months ago, I had one cool assignment, courtesy of Sports Illustrated. I got to hand out with the famous/infamous Don King for a fight he was promoting. The fight, between Eric Molina and Deontay Wilder, was held at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Ala. The story was part of SI’s annual “Where Are They Now?” issue. I’ve assisted SI photographers on stories for this issue in years past, so it was a real honor to be shooting this assignment.

Don KingDon King and Eric MolinaX159703_TK1_014X159703_TK1_1507Don KingDon King

To say Don King has been around the boxing game for a while is an understatement. At 84, most folks are surprised that he is still working. He was in Birmingham promoting heavyweight bout between Eric Molina (black/gold trunks) and Deontay Wilder (burgundy trunks). Wilder, a Tuscaloosa, Ala. native, was definitely the favorite, both among the crowd and the bookies.

My assignment was to simply follow Mr. King around before, during, and after the fight. I had full access Mr. Molina and his crew as he prepared for the fight. It was pretty intense watching him prepare, mentally and physically, for this fight. The whole thing is an experience I’ll never forget.

Eric Molina fights Deontay Wilder Eric Molina fights Deontay Wilder

I wasn’t able to sit next to Mr. King during the fight, so I did the next best thing. I shot the fight. And man, talk about intense! I’ve shot a lot of sports, but nothing so far (rodeo would have to be a second) has been so fast, violent, and just damn impressive as a boxing match. When the action is on your side of the ring, a nice shower of sweat sprays all over you AND your gear. Good times!

The fight didn’t go to well for Mr. Molina. He held on a lot longer than most thought he would, but ultimately lost as a TKO in the ninth round.

Eric Molina fights Deontay Wilder Eric Molina fights Deontay Wilder Eric Molina fights Deontay Wilder Eric Molina fights Deontay WilderEric Molina fights Deontay WilderEric MolinaDon KingDon King

Here is how the magazine ran my photos:

IMG_3291-2 IMG_3293-2 IMG_3295-2

Me and The King.

Don King


  1. Reply
    Jessica G October 13, 2015

    Kevin! This is so cool! Really proud of you!

    • Reply
      Kevin Liles October 15, 2015

      Thank you Jessica! <3

  2. Reply
    Roberto Zapata November 12, 2015

    My name is Robert u was part of the molina camp. I was the gentlemen taping his gloves. Do you still have any photos of us in the dressing room ?

    • Reply
      Kevin Liles December 7, 2015

      Hello Roberto. Sorry for the late reply … I do have photos of you guys in the dressing room.

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