US Boxing History: How President-elect Donald Trump redefined entertainment in the arena

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US Boxing History: How President-elect Donald Trump redefined entertainment in the arena
Image courtesy: Eduardo Merille/ Flickr

Donald Trump’s biggest contribution? Redefined boxing and wrestling. Experience in setting up fierce US boxing bouts and walking away with the huge chunk of adulation and media attention; Donald Trump must have drawn inspiration from his involvement in the sport while his campaigns were punched left, right and center in the buildup leading to the US Elections 2016.

Only this time, it was a different arena, a much bigger one, and a rival, with dominating public persona.

A key player in establishing US boxing as the unquestionable rival to United States Football League, Donald Trump brought ego and business into Atlantic City. With two casinos in the city, Trump made boxing a marquee event at the Broadwalk.

Video courtesy: WRLDTV/You Tube

Much like how Donald Trump knocked out his rival from the Presidential race, he had once blown away everyone who stood between his dreams and boxing events.

His contribution to boxing is immense, even as some critics find him to be the unwanted “disruptor” who needlessly shifted the sporting capital of America from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. His biggest contribution was keeping faith in Mike Tyson and even defending him unconditionally.

It was Donald Trump who brought boxing to the casino capital, Atlantic City. His vision was to dominate the sport. Don played his first “trump” card by organizing pageants and US boxing matches at the Trump Castle, thus saving him and the organizers event tax in entirety.

A master stroke, as Atlantic City grew bigger and trendier. Not to forget, that it was Trump who brought a 20-something Mike Tyson to fight it out at the Trump Plaza with Cuban El Nino Jose Ribalta in August 1986.

Tyson knocked out the 6’5” Cuban thrice, before referee Rudy Battle intervened to stop the fight in the 10th round. It established Tyson as the undefeated #1 Heavyweight boxing champion.

But that’s not the glory match in Trump’s boxing journey. He took the match between Gerry Cooney vs. Michael Spinks to 60-million TV sets by signing “undisclosed deals”.

He then brought Tyson to fight Spinks at a record bid of $11 million, easily thumping the bid made by Caesars Palace’s $6.5 million. The fight went on to become the Super Bowl of boxing.

While Trump Plaza was largely empty that night during the fight, the bout was witnessed by legends of boxing, Hollywood celebrities and media tycoons. Spinks lost the match, the confidence and the interest in the sport after being knocked out in 91 seconds!

In those less than 100 seconds, the fight became the richest US boxing event in the history (at that time) raking up $70 million, and additional $12.2 million from the live gates.

For everything that he has done, Donald Trump was included into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 2015. Just a fortnight before the elections, Vice President Joe Biden wanted to fisticuff Trump “behind the gym” and teach him a lesson for defending Mike Tyson on rape charges.

We wonder if Joe Biden will prefer to rather fight it out inside the ring at Atlantic City!

Image courtesy: Eduardo Merille/ Flickr

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