Finally, after numerous speed bumps, the June 8 Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis fight
is a go.
Two months after an infamous Jan. 22 press-conference brawl that sent event
plans spiraling, co-promoters Showtime Event Television and Home Box Office
announced an 11th-hour deal Tuesday that set the potentially
lucrative heavyweight-championship fight in Memphis, Tenn.
Cable pay-per-view executives applauded the deal, which could put as much as
$100 million into the PPV industry's coffers, although SET and HBO have yet to
complete a PPV-distribution deal with the industry.
'We're not going to reinvent the wheel [with the fight's PPV-licensing
terms],' HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg said. 'But this is an event that
will draw a significant amount of noise and revenue, and I hope that In Demand
[L.L.C.] and the cable operators recognize that and get behind the event.'
Greenburg said Memphis put together the most complete package for the event,
although he would not reveal financial specifics of the agreement. Tennessee;
Washington, D.C.; and Michigan were the only jurisdictions to clear Tyson to
The fight was initially slated for Las Vegas April 6, but the Nevada Athletic
Commission -- citing past Tyson indiscretions both in and out of the ring --
denied the former heavyweight champion a boxing license.
The agreement, finalized late Monday night, came on the eve of an impending
March 25 deadline that would have erased agreed-upon financial terms negotiated
by HBO, SET and the fighters two months ago.