PPV Boxing Outlook Picks Up

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The heavyweight division's once-cloudy future became a bit clearer last week, with both Showtime Networks and Home Box Office working to set up some major fall bouts.

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson will most likely step into the ring for the first time in nearly a year in September, for Showtime. And TVKO is close to securing a November date for a Lennox Lewis-Hasim Rahman heavyweight championship rematch.

Showtime is close to finalizing a deal to pit Tyson against Brian Nielsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sept. 8, network representatives said. The bout would air on the Showtime pay TV network.

Tyson hasn't fought since beating Andrew Golota last October in a pay-per-view event. That event — which Golota quit in the third round — drew a lackluster 400,000 PPV buys.

Showtime was set to televise a June Tyson-David Izon fight, but Tyson backed out after Lewis lost his World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation championships to the unheralded Rahman last April.

Tyson's camp had opened negotiations with Rahman for a fall fight. But he was rebuffed after Judge Miriam Cedarbaum of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last month ruled for Lewis in his lawsuit against Rahman, forcing a rematch.

TVKO is in talks to distribute that fight either Nov. 10 or Nov. 17 on pay-per-view, according to sources close to the situation. TVKO's premium-network cousin, Home Box Office, televised the April Lewis-Rahman fight.

"Negotiations are moving forward for Rahman-Lewis," said HBO Sports president Ross Greenberg. "We're optimistic that the promoters can finalize their agreement very soon."

Showtime, in association with promoter Don King, announced the undercard for its Aug. 4 Evander Holyfield-John Ruiz World Boxing Association heavyweight-championship PPV fight. Heavyweights Henry Ackinwande and Nate Jones will fight, as will Izon and Lamond Brewster. Light flyweights Rosendo Alvarez and Pitchit Siriwat will also square off.

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