Huck offer to W. Klitschko a stunt
November, 2, 2012
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Jens MeyerMarco Huck is No. 1 at cruiserweight, but he would be out of his depth against Wladimir Klitschko.Cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck has a defense against former titleholder Firat Arslan on Saturday in Germany so, naturally, promoter Sauerland Event is trying to drum up interest.
And what better way to hype Huck's fight -- one he should win, and quite comfortably -- than by telling everyone that a big-money offer has been made to heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko to fight Huck next, even if it has no basis in reality.
That is exactly what Kalle Sauerland and Saturday's event organizer, Ralf Weber, did on Thursday when they sent out a media release filled with a lot of exclamation points that proclaimed they had offered Klitschko -- who has his own defense against Mariusz Wach on Nov. 10 -- 5 million euros (about $6.5 million) to fight Huck.
It's a pure PR move, in my view. Sauerland and Weber know the fight isn't likely to happen, which is no great loss because it would be an epic mismatch.
But let's give the Huck side its chance to make the case.
"Bernd Boente, Klitschko's manager, has been talking to Marco directly about the possibility of fighting Klitschko," Sauerland said. "Now we have used the official channels to approach them with an offer."
Sauerland said that the offer was declined 20 minutes after it was made.
"Of course, we are now expecting them to come up with a counteroffer," Sauerland said. "We are always willing to hold personal talks to discuss the terms for such a fight. Then we will see if they will actually put their money where their mouth is. We definitely want to make this fight happen."
The Huck side would want the fantasy Klitschko-Huck fight to happen at the Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle/Westphalia, Germany, where Huck-Arslan will take place and where Ralf Weber is the general manager.
"We have been working with the Sauerlands for 18 years now and been hosting great fight nights at the Gerry Weber Stadium," Weber said. "A fight between Huck and Klitschko would be the absolute highlight. We will do everything possible to make this fight happen. We have made a serious offer to the Klitschko management, which we believe should make everyone involved happy."
Ah, if only it were that simple. Maybe they do really want to make the fight happen, but Sauerland and Weber knew darn well there was no chance of their offer being accepted.
That's because Klitschko -- as well as older brother and fellow heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko -- fights exclusively on German network RTL. The brothers have had a deal with RTL since 2006. Sauerland Event has a contract with ARD to televise all of its cards in Germany.
Boente agreed that the offer was a promotional ploy.
"Every time there is a Huck fight coming up, they want to use the Klitschko name to help promote it," Boente said.
Boente also took issue with Sauerland's comment that he had gone around Sauerland to talk directly with Huck.
"They said I approached Huck regarding the fight, which is complete nonsense," Boente said.
Boente said he saw Huck and Wilfried Sauerland, the company chief and Kalle's father, at a non-boxing event not too long ago and that Huck came over to him and asked him if they could put together a fight with Klitschko.
"I said, 'No problem, we can do it.' And [Thursday] Sauerland sends out that press release as a PR stunt. He could have offered us 100 million euros, but he knows we have had a contract with RTL since 2006 and, therefore, it makes no sense to discuss it unless they want to come to RTL. Any fight that happens between one of the Klitschkos and Huck can only happen on RTL, our TV partner. Sauerland wants to do it on ARD, which will never happen. So it's only a PR stunt.
"I sent them an email saying we can do the fight any time, but it has to be on RTL and the promoter has to be K2 [the Klitschkos' company]."
Klitschko is the champion, with his own lucrative German TV contract. He doesn't need Huck or Sauerland for a fight, especially one for which there is no public demand.
But let's give Sauerland and Weber credit for getting Huck the publicity they were looking for.