By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
PROMOTER Eddie Hearn expects that on Monday Mikkel Kessler to agree terms to fight Carl Froch at London’s O2 Arena in late May.
But Hearn has set Kessler and his promoter Kalle Sauerland a deadline of today to make the super-middleweight world title a unification bout.
The £4m showdown would likely be the UK’s biggest scrap this year, if it comes off, and Hearn says it is on the brink of being agreed with home advantage for the Nottingham boxer.
Froch, 35, is desperate for the chance to avenge a points loss to Kessler, 33, in Denmark in April 2010.
But purse bids for Froch’s IBF mandatory title defence against Canadian Adonis Stevenson are due tomorrow.
And Hearn says he will turn his attention to making that fight in April if terms cannot be made with WBA champion Kessler today.
He said: “We are getting closer but the clock is ticking and the purse bids for the IBF defence is Tuesday.
“I would say the Kessler fight is 70-30 likely to happen, so we are very close.
“Every conversation we seem to have we are getting closer, but it’s just about getting it done in time. But there’s too much money and pride at stake for it not to happen for me.
“It feels like a fight that should happen at a big London arena. Apart from Haye-Chisora, London hasn’t had a big fight for a while.
“Kessler is coming over but he feels that holding it in Nottingham is not fair and they think they are bringing over 5,000 fans, so London makes sense.
“The Kessler fight has to be made by Tuesday or we will have to do the purse bid for the Stevenson fight instead.
“I’m not prepared to relinquish the IBF belt and not do the Stevenson fight without a fight with Kessler being made because we will be left without a card to play.”
Froch reckons his rematch with Kessler will be bigger than the 2007 meeting the Dane had with Welshman Joe Calzaghe, watched by over 50,000 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
He said: “Everything is in place for what will be the biggest fight in Britain for the last 10 years. It is the fight everybody wants.
"The television companies are happy and we have a couple of options on venues. He has been made an offer so it is all down to him now.
“And Mikkel was talking about a rematch anytime, anywhere, so I’m hopeful.
“But if he does pull out, I’ll be phoning him and calling him chicken.”
Hearn also hopes Froch can hold on to the IBF belt even if he faces Kessler next.
He added: “We’ve asked the IBF for an exemption if Carl fights Kessler because it’s a unification fight, but if they don’t give it, then so be it. It’s about the fight, not the belt.”BOXING: D-day for Froch’s title rematch