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"That——ing King!" said Giachetti. "He sent a hit man to Las Vegas to tell me to lay off him.... You know I got tapes of King that I made."
So that's how I learned how King had decided to deal with Giachetti, who now, believe it or not, is back with King and serving as Tyson's trainer. I guess I shouldn't really be surprised.
To say the least, King seemed to keep some dubious company. A few weeks earlier, on May 19, 1981, an informant called to tell me that he had found out from King that the promoter was planning to travel to Philadelphia two days later to meet with Frank (Frankie Flowers) D'Alfonso, an associate in the Philadelphia organized-crime family, who in 1985 would be gunned down on a Philadelphia street. We knew that D'Alfonso had been involved in at least one King promotion—he had a stake in the closed-circuit TV rights for Philadelphia for the Ali-Holmes fight in '80.
Another informant reported that on the day before their meeting, D'Alfonso warned King away from Philadelphia; D'Alfonso feared that he himself was under surveillance—as indeed he was. D'Alfonso said he was worried because of the numerous "fed cars" around his house.
According to a Sept. 20, 1982, informant's report, King had met six days earlier with the notorious John Gotti, then a capo in the Gambino crime family—he later became the head of the family—at Patrissy's, a restaurant in Manhattan's Little Italy. "Gotti and King dined together," the informant said.
Then on Oct. 2, 1982, the same informant reported he had heard that King had met with a powerful capo in the Genovese crime family, Matthew (Matty the Horse) Ianniello, at Abe's Steak House in Manhattan.
This informant also stated that King and Gotti had another meeting in December at Abe's Steak House. Although the subject of their discussion was unknown, King and Gotti became engaged in what appeared to be a "heated conversation."
I thought that D'Alfonso's warning King away because of the feds being all over the place was really funny at the time. It seemed to me that it was the hoods who were all over the place. They all saw Quintana as a mark—this rich drug dealer racing around the Big Apple in his Rolls-Royce, with $3 million in hot cash burning a hole in his designer jeans. That's how much Quintana was telling the mobsters that he had, and they figured that the way to get at it was to promise him the promoter. For high rollers like Quintana, that's what the mob does: It arranges meetings, opens doors and shows the way.
And Quintana, of course, was receptive. Just as the Giachetti tapes had revealed King's having invoked one hoodlum to ward off another, so Quintana used King's name to work his way into the underworld. At various times, members of three New York and New Jersey crime families offered to set up the meeting: Franzese for the Colombos, a capo and a soldier for the DeCavalcantes and a soldier for the Genoveses. I remember one day thinking: King is not named Don for nothing.
If what we had found so far was any clue at all, boxing was an unholy mess. Not surprisingly, the fighters themselves were at the low end of the sport's food chain. Even Holmes was being cut up like a turnip. King was supposed to be making his money off Holmes by promoting his fights and earning whatever was left after the boxers and expenses had been paid, not by managing Holmes and taking a cut of his purses. It is to prevent this sort of double-dipping, which creates a clear-cut conflict of interest, that most state commissions bar a promoter from also being a manager. But Giachetti had told us that King was taking a 25% cut of all Holmes's purses. Giachetti and Holmes's lawyer in Easton, Pa., Charles Spaziani, were each getting 12.5%. In sum, they were in for half of Holmes's purses.