Thursday, March 22, 2007

Father of Princes and "Kings"

As many of you know, the Pope's Wednesday general audience attracts a catch-all of the world that rivals, if not beats, Times Square.

Not only was that the case again yesterday, but it could possibly be said that it took on a new level given the presence of the legendary boxing promoter Don King -- who, as ever, donned the mitre that God (aided by whoever does King's hair) gave him.

True to form, the impresario of the canvas ended up with a ringside seat for the main event:
"Faith is the thing that carries us through," the 75-year-old King said as he walked through St. Peter's Square, waving Italian and Vatican flags and signing autographs.

Don King Productions spokesman Alan Hopper said the Vatican visit was arranged through a boxer King represents — Italian super welterweight champion Luca Messi, whose brother Alessandro is a Catholic priest.

King was seated in the front row of a special section on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica. He was able to hand the pope the gift and the letter as Benedict drove slowly by in an open jeep at the end of the audience.
"The gift," you ask? A title-belt, of course:

There's no shot of B16 accepting his gift, but by the looks of him, the Fluff was in top form, too:

Especially after the occurrence, however, the question remains: "Who's his next TKO?"

PHOTOS 1-2: Reuters/Dario Pignatelli
PHOTO 3: AP/Pier Paolo Cito