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ARE MSG OFFICIALS GIDDY AFTER KO OF SATURDAY'S FIGHT?
Published June 8, 1998
Saturday's scheduled fight night at Madison Square Garden, which was to feature Evander Holyfield versus Henry Akinwande for the WBA heavyweight crown, "unraveled completely" Friday after a "series of strange developments," according to Timothy Smith of the N.Y. TIMES. The main bout was cancelled after Akinwande tested positive for hepatitis B, and Smith wrote that the debacle was the "latest setback" in NYC's "bid to make boxing a profitable enterprise in the city." However, the "biggest financial losers" were the fighters, including Holyfield, who will not receive his $10M guarantee, and Akinwande who lose out on $2.5M (N.Y. TIMES, 6/7). In N.Y., Gargano & Kuntzman wrote that the cancellation cost MSG $100,000 in promotional fees, but it "could have lost more than" $1M had the fight taken place. Only 4,000 advance tickets had been sold for the fight, and MSG officials "were said to be happy the fight was scratched" (N.Y. POST, 6/6). ESPN's Jon Saraceno reported that Showtime's Jay Larkin had said that the fight "was doing better in PPV sales as the week went along, but there's no guarantee that it would have done enough to keep Showtime out of a bad ink situation" ("SportsCenter," 6/5).