The word “king” has been a label for monarchs, royalty and many others. Once Steve “USS” Cunningham’s cut-man Buddy Osborn was to work with one of Don King’s veteran cut men. He told Osborn whose new trade started with Cunningham “I was sent by King to work the corner”. Osborn, a former inmate, now born again Christian said “I was sent by the King of Kings, Jesus Christ”. Cunningham is also born again.
This writer also believes there is only one King and that is Jesus Christ but as a fan of both Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali I remember the night Ali entered the ring with a full length white robe with “People’s Champ” on the back in jewels in 1974 if memory serves me right for the first “Smokin” Joe Frazier fight given to him by Elvis. In doing my research I came across a story by Terry Conway entitled “The King Meets the Greatest”. It was a superb article that can be found here Elvis-Express/Ali.
This writer first met Ali in 1972 in center city Philly shortly after his loss to Ken Norton. He was surrounded by fans 16th & Chestnut Street and even a broken jaw from the Norton fight didn’t stop him from talking. This little old black guy with glasses and a white hat said “next time you fight Norton be a man, not a boy!” Ali responded with “did you call me Roy?” Everyone in the crowd was laughing except the old man. He pointed to Ali saying “I said be a man, not a boy!” Ali again responded, this time with another rhyme saying “play with him like a toy?” Even the old man laughed along with the rest of us. I was hooked!
Two weeks later I saw a picture of his former home at 70th & Overbrook in Philly and his new home in Cherry Hill, NJ, near the Cherry Hill Arena. I knocked on the door and his second wife Belinda answered. I asked if I could talk to the champ. She came back and told me to come in. That was my first personal meeting with Ali. On this and other meetings with Ali see my story “Laugh’s with Ali”.
Now getting back to Elvis I once read a piece by a former boxer who worked fight scenes in Hollywood and sometimes as a referee. He said “there were two he-men in Hollywood in Gary Cooper and John Wayne but neither could be good boxers”. He added, “the two who could be boxers were John Garfield (former amateur boxer starred in Body & Soul) and Elvis Presley (Kid Galahad)”.
Partial quote by Ali from Conway story on Elvis: “Elvis was my close personal friend. He came to my Deer Lake (PA) training camp about 2 years before he died. He told us he didn’t want anyone to bother us……..Elvis had a robe made for me. I don’t admire nobody but Elvis Presley was the sweetest, most humble and nicest man you’d want to know,” said Ali.