Promoter Don King, who swooped in and won a purse bid in late February for a shocking $1.5 million to gain promotional rights to the third fight between cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck and interim titleholder Ola Afolabi -- even though he does not promote either boxer -- has defaulted on his bid.
King was planning to stage the bout on May 11 in Germany but never secured a venue and failed to make a television deal, which would have covered the costs. That King defaulted came as no surprise to either fighter's camp, both of which had been waiting for weeks for King to finalize the specifics but expected him to fail.
"We always said that [King's] bid was a bit over the top," said Chris Meyer, the managing director of Sauerland Event, which promotes Huck. "It was a fantasy bid, wishful thinking. Now that everybody else has come to the same realization, we can start the planning process."
It is the second time in recent months that King has defaulted after winning a purse bid. Late last year he bid $1.1 million on the heavyweight title elimination fight between Cristobal Arreola and Bermane Stiverne, whom King promotes, but defaulted. The rights then went to the second-place bidder, Arreola promoter Dan Goossen, who bid $550,000 and worked out a deal for HBO to buy the fight, which will be Saturday night in Ontario, Calif.
The promotional rights to Huck-Afolabi III now fall to second-place bidder Sauerland Event, which offered $914,444 at the February purse bid. K2 Promotions, which promotes Afolabi, bid $375,000. The fight wound up at a purse bid in the first place because Sauerland Event and K2 could not reach an agreement.
"At the end [King's bid] was a waste of everyone's time and nerves. The fighters lost important time off their respective careers and each at least one bout's purse," Meyer said.
Under Sauerland's bid, Huck is entitled to 80 percent of the money ($731,555) with Afolabi getting the remaining 20 percent ($182,889).
Unlike King, Sauerland is Germany's most significant promoter and should have no issue getting the fight scheduled, as it has an exclusive television deal with German national network ARD.
"We should not expect any time delays here," Meyer said.
Meyer said that Sauerland Event has reached a deal with Huck to extend his promotional contract through 2014, and "over the coming days we will sit down with [K2 promoter] Tom Loeffler, who is looking after Ola Afolabi, and will talk about a date and possible venues. We want Huck vs. Afolabi III to take place before the summer break."
King will forfeit his 10 percent deposit ($150,000) for winning the purse bid. The deposit money is supposed to be split between fighters and WBO, whose title is at stake.
According to Loeffler, the target date for the fight is June 8 in Germany.
Huck (35-2-1, 25 KOs) outpointed England native Afolabi (19-2-4, 9 KOs) in a 2009 title defense and also retained the title in a May 2012 draw in one of the best fights of the year. Because of the draw, the WBO ordered a third fight.