HBO, SET May Vie For Oct. 4 Date


In a throwback to the date battles of the-mid 1990s, the pay-per-view event arms of Showtime and Home Box Office are proposing separate boxing cards for Oct. 4.

Showtime Event Television will distribute a heavyweight fight between former champion Evander Holyfield and current cruiserweight champion James Toney on that date, while HBO PPV — representing boxing promotion company Top Rank Inc. — is considering a Hispanic-based PPV card featuring featherweight champion Erik Morales.

While the SET Holyfield-Toney fight is set, neither a venue nor a suggested retail price has been announced.

On HBO PPV and Top Rank's part, the Oct. 4 date was set aside for a third match between Morales and former champion Marco Antonio Barerra, but management issues surrounding the latter have likely shelved that bout indefinitely, sources said.

Top Rank still plans to offer a PPV card that night, headed by Morales.

"It's not our preference [to go head-to-head], and we'll do our best to resolve the situation," HBO senior vice president of sports operations Mark Taffet said.

The surprise competitiveness and ratings performance of HBO's June 21 Lennox Lewis-Vitali Klitschko fight has opened up several pay-per-view options for the network. Lewis, who was ahead on all of the judges' scorecards, retained his heavyweight belt when the fight was stopped in the sixth round, due to a severe cut over the challenger's left eye.

The fight generated a 13.4 rating, the highest mark for a boxing match since a 1999 Oscar De La Hoya-Oba Carr bout registered a 14.6 rating in HBO's universe.

Taffet said HBO PPV will soon talk to Lewis about developing a potential PPV Lewis-Klitschko rematch for December. Another potential PPV fight for November could pit Lewis against World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr.