King seeks venue for card after investor check bounces

Originally Published: January 11, 2007
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Promoter Don King needs a place to hang his hat, and he needs it quickly.

The verbose High-Haired One was at the Miami Arena in South Florida Thursday to announce a Feb. 3 card featuring three world title bouts.

The problem, however, is that the fights probably won't take place there because a $500,000 check from an unnamed private investor working with the arena to help bankroll the card bounced on Wednesday, King announced at the news conference.

The bounced check has left King looking for a new venue three weeks before the card.

"We're looking for a home," King said. "This is a terrible embarrassment for me and a blow. I'm throwing out an all-points bulletin. We're looking for a home for this fight."

Light heavyweight titlist Tomasz Adamek (31-0, 21 KOs) of Poland defends his belt for the third time against top contender Chad Dawson (23-0, 15 KOs) of New Haven, Conn., in the Showtime main event.

In the televised opener, lightweight titlist Jesus Chavez (43-3, 30 KOs) of Austin, Tex., who hasn't fought since Sept. 2005 because of a serious arm injury, returns to face interim titlist Julio Diaz (33-3, 24 KOs) of Coachella, Calif., in a mandatory fight.

Also on the card, but not part of Showtime's telecast, junior middleweight titleholder Cory Spinks (35-3, 11 KOs) will face mandatory challenger Rodney Jones (37-3-1, 22 KOs).

King said his deal called for him to be paid $1 million by the investor to stage the card at Miami Arena on the night before the Super Bowl takes place in the city. However, it took King four weeks to get the initial check. When he finally got it, it didn't go through. Tickets for the card have been on sale for more than a week, according King spokesman Alan Hopper.

"We had a signed contract and everything was running smoothly," King said. "Then the check we deposited for $500,000 was returned and stamped insufficient funds. As of now, there's no room at the inn and no money in the bank. Welcome to the promotion business."

King, whose company is based in Deerfield Beach, Fla., said he hoped that another investor would step up and, hopefully, keep the card in South Florida.

"We're in a critical situation, but we're going to save it for the great state of Florida," King said. "Prayerfully, this card will be staged here in Florida."

Hopper said that although King hoped to find someone to put up enough money to keep the card in Florida, perhaps still at Miami Arena, the hunt was on for a new venue.

"They were working feverishly at the office looking for another site," Hopper said. "It was smile and dial. But Don will do what he always does and find a way to make the card happen."

If the card moves elsewhere, it could be a blessing in disguise. Because the Super Bowl is also in Miami, hotel rooms are scarce and expensive. Hopper said it was going to cost the company about $230,000 to house everyone associated with the card.