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Another View: Tyson No Guarantee for PPV

2/06/2000 7:00 PM Eastern

Beleaguered former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson finallywon a fight without any controversial overtones.

Never mind the fact that it was against a tomato can in theform of British heavyweight champion Julius Francis: Tyson's second-round knockout Jan. 29-- telecast by Showtime Networks -- was very impressive.

Operators hoping Tyson's revival will translate into megapay-per-view dollars beginning next month may have to wait a little while, though.

Showtime Event Television is contemplating a March PPVevent featuring Tyson and comeback heavyweight contender Lou Savarese. But Tyson may fighta few more bouts outside of the States and on pay TV -- which may not be all that bad forthe industry.

Virtually an outcast in the United States, Tyson wasshowered with adulation and cheers from British fans, who usually reserve such exaltationfor major rock stars. The outpouring surprised Tyson, as well as his handlers, who, only afew months ago, were forced to seek international venues after yet another controversialTyson event.

Now Tyson's career seems somewhat revived and his appealseems to be on an upswing, even if that momentum is being generated overseas.

There's talk of a couple of more European Tyson fights tobe scheduled over the next four or five months, but with the time difference betweenEurope and the United States, it would be difficult at best to offer those events on a PPVbasis. This will probably push a Tyson PPV fight back until late summer or early fall atthe earliest.

But if Tyson continues to play well in Europe and restorenot only his boxing skills, but the aura that made him the biggest PPV draw in history, hecould return to the United States as a more formidable and acceptable challenger to theheavyweight title, which translates into big PPV bucks.

At worst, his next PPV fight, if not against a Lennox Lewisor Evander Holyfield, would generate more buzz and potentially more buys if he's had twoor three impressive KOs instead of just one.

Of course, money talks, and if SET can make a lucrative PPVdeal for Tyson's next fight, rest assured: Boxing fans will pay to see Tyson fight withinU.S. borders next month.

But if he decides to continue his European tour on Showtimeinstead of PPV, operators shouldn't be too upset. The prodigal PPV son will eventuallyreturn home and most likely net operators some very hefty dividends.

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