By Jake Donovan
The rematch between Mikkel Kessler and Carl Froch is still nearly four months away from fight night on May 25, but the event’s promoters have already hit the campaign trail.
A sold out O2 Arena in London is anticipated for the super middleweight clash, though the event is not without its share of sporting competition. Less than an hour away, Wembley Stadium will play host to the 2013 UEFA Champions League football finals match.
This fact has been repeatedly pointed out to promoter Eddie Hearn, who insists that no conflict exists, that the football event will actually help increase at-home viewership for the UK pay-per-view.
“A lot of people on Twitter have tried to remind me. They thought I didn’t know it was on the Champion’s League finals night. It’s very deliberate,” insists Hearn, who has promoted Froch since 2011.
The events will overlap the extent where footballers will miss out on the undercard that is still being planned out. With the Champions League finals broadcast set to air at 8:45PM local time, its conclusion should allow for enough time for fans to switch over and still catch the evening’s main event at O2 Arena.
“You’ve got a huge, captive sporting audience at hand. Of course, we won’t be conflicting with the timing of the Champion’s league,” Hearn rationalizes. “This fight will be taking place anywhere between 11:15PM and midnight. It’s why we’re working with Kalle (Sauerland).
“It’s a tried and true method on a date with football. It’s worked before, that’s driven huge, huge numbers. It’s very deliberate to make sure we’ve got that huge captive audience already sitting at home on their sofa watching a huge sporting event.”
The bout is a rematch to their April 2010 thriller in Denmark, which Kessler (46-2, 35KO) won by decision in a fight that would be his last for more than a year.
Froch (30-2, 22KO) has since won four of his last five contests, including a career-best 5th round knockout of Lucian Bute last May in Nottingham. The win came on the heels of his gut-wrenching points loss to Andre Ward in their Dec. ’11 Super Six finals.
The belt that Froch acquired in the win over Bute came with mandatory obligations, but the IBF granted a temporary exemption to first allow for a unification match. Kessler once again became a title claimant with a knockout win over Brian Magee last December.
Tickets for the alphabet unification bout went on sale Monday morning. More than 8,000 tickets have already been sold, according to Eddie Hearn, who is not at all concerned of competing with the Champions League finals over attendance at home or at the venue.
“We’re set up for 17,000 and expecting a sellout,” Hearn stated to the media on hand during Monday’s press conference in London. “We’re confident (the Champions League finals) won’t affect the live gate. We anticipate a sellout.”
Jake Donovan is the Boxingscene.com Managing Editor, Records Keeper for Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox