Showtime Event Television's (SET) decision to cancel a Jan. 19 Mike
Tyson-Ray Mercer pay-per-view fight clears the way for a mega April 2002
Tyson-Lennox Lewis heavyweight championship PPV event.
Tyson notified SET late last Friday that he wanted to concentrate on making a
fight against Lewis - the World Boxing Council and International Boxing
Federation champion - rather than taking an interim against the journeyman
Mercer, an SET spokeswoman said.
SET was hoping
to get the January fight in to help jump-start the boxing side of the
event PPV industry in 2002.
When final 2001 tallies are made, revenue in this arena is expected to see a
sharp decline from the industry's $116 million take from boxing during 2000.
But, HBO PPV, which holds a multi-fight deal with Lewis and has been
negotiating with SET to make the Lewis-Tyson fight, was concerned that a
Tyson-Mercer fight would jeopardize a shot at a very lucrative April PPV payday.
A deal for Tyson-Lewis, however, has yet to be signed.