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.
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.
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.
Here is how the magazine ran my photos:
Me and The King.