Various boxing world figures share their memories and Close Encounters With Donald Trump, in my 15th book.
Mike Tyson (Former Heavyweight Champion): “Listen, I’m a black motherfucker from the poorest town in the country (Brownsville in Brooklyn, NY). I’ve been through a lot in life. And I know Donald Trump. When I see him, he shakes my hand and respects my family. None of them, Barack, whoever, nobody else does that. They’re gonna be who they are and disregard me and my family. So I’m voting for him. If I can get 200,000 people or more to vote for him, I’m gonna do it.” “Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump! You vote for Trump; you get the bump. I like who I like. I am not registered (democrat or republican) for shit. This is what I think should happen. I know Trump. Nobody else who’s running for President is gonna shake my hand and do anything kind for me. I’m a bad nigger to them. I don’t look good around these democrat guys or republican guys or those who are politically inclined. I made a lot of money (from Trump in my fights in Atlantic City). I made a lot of money when I had a republican president.”
Chuck Wepner (Former World Heavyweight Title challenger and the inspiration for the film “Rocky”): “Yes I know Trump. He invited me down to Mar A Lago. He loved the fighters. I was there years before he became president. He was interested in promoting a cage fight, me with Tex Cobb. But it never happened. He couldn’t pay me enough money (smiles). But I like Trump. Between you and me, Bayonne (NJ) is a democrat town. But I like Trump. He’s doing a good job. I like what he’s doing and the economy is doing good.”
Randy Gordon (Former Ring Magazine Editor-in-Chief): “I met Donald Trump several times throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, but two dates stand out in my mind. The first was on Wednesday, October 17,1984. My youngest daughter, Greer, had been born six days earlier. I left the morning of the 16th to announce a televised fight the night before in Atlantic City, then stayed over for a morning breakfast meeting with Donald Trump in Trump Plaza. As Editor-in-Chief of The Ring, I was interviewing Trump for the cover story in the following month’s Ring. I had intended to put Trump on the cover. The interview went very well, with Trump telling me, ‘…that was the most in-depth interview I have ever given.’ He was very respectful throughout the interview, telling me I could come back as his guest to Trump Plaza any time I wanted, simply by calling his personal assistant, whom he would speak to later that morning.” “In the early afternoon, Ring’s staff photographer, Jack Goodman, would be showing up to do a photo shoot with Trump, as the cover story would also feature him on the cover. I’ll always believe the magazine would have been a huge seller, just the way Ring’s ‘Howard Cosell cover’ did record sales around four years earlier. We never got to find out. When I returned to Ring the next morning, I saw former Editor-in-Chief Nat Loubet sitting at a desk. Nat had been retired from the magazine for close to a year. Why was he there now? He told me to sit down. He had bad news for me. While I was in Atlantic City, Ring’s three owners—Dave DeBusschere, Nick Kladis and Jim Bukata—had come in to do some ‘house-cleaning.’”
“A few heads were going to roll, as well as a few of their other minor publications, including Boxing Illustrated and its editor, Nigel Collins. However, doing a great job in saving his job, Collins said it should be me who should be fired, as I was going out of town nearly every week for TV assignments, and that I was in Atlantic City as they spoke. Of course, he didn’t tell them I was interviewing Donald Trump for next month’s cover, and they bought his story. My days at The Ring ended that day, with Collins going on to run the magazine for the next twenty years or so, and me heading into television, the New York State Athletic Commission and back into radio and TV.” “The next time I interviewed Trump was on February 8, 1988, I was in Atlantic City’s Convention Center, doing blow-by-blow on a televised card which featured Roberto Duran against Ricky Stackhouse. My color analyst was the great Gil Clancy.
During a break in the card, which featured not only Duran, but Mark Breland and Marlon Starling, as well, my producer told us in our headsets that Donald Trump would be walking in soon and be seated behind us. He told us, ‘Mr. Trump will be brought over to you at the end of this fight and Randy, you’ll do a one-on-one interview with him.’” “When Trump was brought to ringside after the fight by two large bodyguards, a chair was placed next to me and I pointed to a set of headphones. Trump put them on. After the decision was announced, I heard my producer say in my ear, ‘Okay, Randy, bring in Donald Trump.’” “…Joining us now at ringside is ‘Mr. Atlantic City’ himself, casino owner and boxing aficionado, Mr. Donald Trump.” “As he began to speak, he did so in a deep, gravelly voice, in a speaking intonation as if he was imitating a WWE wrestler. “’Listen here, Gordon…’ he began. Then we both laughed and got into the interview, talking about
Atlantic City as a hotbed for boxing, which it was, at that time. I know this was much longer than you wanted, but I have never spoken at length about my interviews with the man who would become, a few decades and change later, the 45th President of the United States. I may just have to expand on this and turn it into a chapter in my next boxing book, ‘Glove Story.’”