Don King at RNC Despite Being Turned Down to Speak

Famous boxing promoter Don King makes his way through the RNC's media area. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)

Despite reports that he'd been turned down from speaking at the event due to his criminal history, boxing promoter and Cleveland native Don King was in attendance at the Republican National Convention on Monday.

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Donald Trump had apparently wanted King to speak at the RNC, but Republican Chairman Reince Priebus convinced him not to invite King to speak due to the 84-year-old's criminal record, according to a New York Times report. In 1966, King was convicted of manslaughter after stomping one of his employees to death. He served nearly four years in prison.

King stood by Trump and praised his political outsider image when "Chicago Tonight" encountered him walking through the RNC's media area.

"I support Donald Trump because he said we will create a whole new system," King said. "We will tear this system apart. I want to make America great again."

King also commented on the racial tensions permeating the country by referencing a "blue lives matter" law that Louisiana adopted in May 2016. The legislation makes attacking public safety workers, like police officers, a hate crime.

"If you're gonna tell me that 'blue lives matter' and you say 'black lives matter,' how you gonna make one racist and one altruistic?" King said. "You've got to be careful what you're saying when you don't know what time it is."

King's career skyrocketed after he arranged the legendary "Rumble in the Jungle" boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974. King has promoted fights for Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard and a number of other famous boxers. Several of the fighters he's worked with have sued him for fraud.

Watch part of our interview with Don King:


Follow Evan Garcia on Twitter: @EvanRGarcia

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