The most poignant moment of the four years I worked on the investigation came early in 1981 when another FBI agent and I went to Holmes's house in Easton. We were there to serve Holmes with a grand jury subpoena, and when he came to the door, dressed in a robe, and I introduced myself, he smiled and said, "Oh, you're the guy who wants to put Don King in jail."
"That's not exactly true, Larry," I protested, and he waved me inside. We ended up sitting next to his indoor pool, which is shaped like a boxing glove, and talking about the fight game and his career. He reminisced about the sensational 15th round of the fight in 1978 in which he won the heavyweight title from Ken Norton. He was in a jovial mood. At one point, he grabbed the telephone and called Spaziani, saying, "Spaz, I got the FBI here, and they have subpoenaed my ass. And they may have a subpoena for you, too, so you better go hide."
Then, as if a shadow had fallen between us, he grew somber. I had just asked him to help me with the investigation. His wife, Diane, looked nervously toward him, and he glanced over at her. He got tears in his eyes and shook his head. "King's got a lot of bad friends," Holmes said. "I've got to make a living. I have a family. I'm scared for my family. I've got to be careful. He can hurt me."
I was speechless sitting there watching him, listening to his voice trail off. Here was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, the toughest guy on the planet, suddenly looking as sad and frightened as any man I'd ever known.
That was in the investigation's earliest stages. Now, fast forward to Jan. 12, 1983, when Crown Royal finally made it to King's doorstep. The telephone rang.
"Joe, Victor here," said Quintana. "It happened. We had the meeting. A brief one. King's office. We have an agreement to do a copromotion."
I felt a rush. "Did King say anything about who would be involved?" I asked.
"We never got into that," said Quintana. "All he did was agree to it. Michael went in to see him first. Then he came out and took us in. Sharpton was there. Michael introduced us."
"What did King say?"
"We shook hands and he said, 'You must be serious about doing a promotion or you wouldn't be coming here with Michael. I'll do a promotion with you.' Then he said something about a National Youth Movement [Sharpton's organization, which sought to help young people]: 'It's a promotion where the kiddies will benefit. I want to help the kiddies. Anything to help the kiddies.' "