Legendary promoter Don King won a WBC heavyweight eliminator fight between Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne yesterday with a $1.1 million purse bid, shocking pretty much everyone with a bid so large for a fight so, well, not large, including rival promoters who bid on the fight. Arreola's promoter Goossen Tutor came in second with a bid of $550,000, a more reasonable, or I guess more expected, total for the fight.
But King says this is a super fight. Of course, King also said earlier this year he could sell 100,000 tickets in Florida for a rematch between Tavoris Cloud and Gabriel Campillo. From Ryan Burton:
"It puts value back in the game. You can tell by the size of the other bids that they don't value what is really a super fight. They are trying to minimize when they should maximize."
I will say one good thing: It's nice that King's bid means - if he doesn't default on it and lose his rights to promote the fight, which is possible - that Arreola and Stiverne will get a nice payday. I'm always for that
But King has lost his marbles, and he just seems crazy out of touch these days. He doesn't really promote very often, and his fighter stable has dwindled down to a handful of guys who basically don't have any better options, or who needed him to get them out of an even worse situation, or whatever.
There could be an audience for this fight if you find the exact place on earth where Chris Arreola is most popular and put the fight there. But Stiverne has no real audience, only one HBO fight to his credit (and it was terribly forgettable, last year against Ray Austin), and one wonders if either Showtime or HBO are interested in this fight as anything more than an undercard piggyback to a bigger main event. And King doesn't have any bigger main events to promote, so...
Sell it to Wealth TV? Epix? There's nothing wrong with fights being carried by Wealth TV and Epix at all, but I don't think that level of exposure and TV money is what he was looking for with a $1.1 million bid.
Either he's totally misjudged this fight or he's just crazy (which could mean "he's just Don King still"). I don't mean this to be insulting to the fighters, but I'm sure even they are pretty shocked by how much King is paying for the fight.
King says he has no date or venue for the fight yet, but it's been a day so that's no surprise. We'll see if this actually goes anywhere, or if this is news that will eventually mean nothing.