The topsy-turvy world of pay-per-view boxing continued its roller-coaster
Picking up the pieces left by Rainbow Media Holdings Inc., Showtime Event
Television will now partner with boxing promoter Don King to distribute King's
Aug. 4 heavyweight PPV fight card from China.
Meanwhile, tarnished PPV-boxing 'Golden Boy' Oscar De La Hoya proved that he
can still command an audience. He drew a strong 375,000 buys for his June 23
super-welterweight championship fight against Javier Castillejo.
SET will act as an 'consultant' to King's Aug. 4 PPV event, highlighted by
the rubber match between Evander Holyfield and John Ruiz. A SET spokesman said
the PPV company would help to 'facilitate the distribution deal with In Demand
[L.L.C.],' but stopped short of saying SET would finance the live telecast from
Sources close to the situation said King's DK Productions outfit would foot
the bill for distributing the event. Representatives from the company could not
be reached for comment.
In Demand senior vice president of programming Dan York said the PPV network
has reached a distribution agreement for the fight, which will carry a suggested
retail price of $44.95.
SET steps in for Rainbow, which was set to distribute and promote the event
with King. The two parties had scheduled a June 26 press conference to confirm
the arrangement, but Rainbow pulled out June 22, citing an inability to settle
on deal terms.
Rainbow's decision came one day after U.S. District Court Judge Miriam
Cedarbaum in New York ruled that heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman -- who
knocked out Lennox Lewis to win the World Boxing Council and International
Boxing Federation titles April 12 and was scheduled appear on the China card --
must honor a rematch clause and fight Lewis next.
Meanwhile, TVKO's June 23 De La Hoya-Castillejo bout garnered a surprising
375,000 PPV buys. Given De La Hoya's yearlong absence from PPV and the
relatively unknown status of Castillejo, the fight performed above expectations,
Home Box Office senior vice president of sports operations Mark Taffet