Showtime, HBO Spar Over Oct. 4


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's 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 PPV options for the

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 in HBO's universe.

Taffet said HBO PPV will soon talk with 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.