Fifty years ago, Muhammad Ali fought one of his greatest fights on Nov. 14, 1966, against Cleveland Williams. Admittedly, Williams, at age 33 and still carrying a bullet from a police shooting the year before, was no longer the fearsome puncher who had earned the nickname Big Cat and engaged in two slugfests with a prime Sonny Liston. But it hardly mattered. Williams was simply a large body against whom the young Ali—just 24—could demonstrate his astonishing artistry. That night in the Astrodome, Ali dazzled with speed, grace and cascades of spectacular precision punching to score a third-round TKO. It is hard to imagine any heavyweight in history keeping up with the Ali of that night.
For decades Don King was a driving force behind Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. He was the electric-haired, dynamite-voiced impresario introducing Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson. He gave boxing the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manila, spearheaded a heavyweight reunification series in the 1980s and milked every dollar out of a Tyson-worshipping public in the ’90s. No one understood the value of heavyweights like King; not coincidentally, no one made more money off them—in 2006, Forbes estimated that he’d taken in $1 billion off more than 600 bouts over 33 years and his personal worth was $350 million. As the legendary boxing promoter celebrates his 85th birthday on Aug. 20, 2016, we present SI's best photos of Don King.