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KING FOR A DAY: THE DON HOLDS COURT AT MSG PRESS CONFERENCE
Published December 1, 1998
The March 13 Evander Holyfield-Lennox Lewis heavyweight championship unification fight at MSG was officially announced yesterday, and Timothy Smith of the N.Y. TIMES writes that it "could be the kind of signature event that puts the Garden back on the big-time boxing map." Cablevision Chair Charles Dolan "put up just over" $8M to put on the fight at MSG -- a bid that "went beyond anything that Las Vegas or Atlantic City would come up with." With about 19,000 seats and tickets priced from $100 to $1,500, MSG President Dave Checketts said that he "hoped that the fight would be a sellout," earning a gate of $10M. Fight promoter Don King "mended his relationship" with Time Warner Sports President Seth Abraham to get the fight together. The two were partners 13 years ago, "before a bitter split." Abraham: "Sharing a boxing podium with Don King must be like dating your ex-wife. You think it's the best thing, but only time and another date will tell" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/1). The fight is "the boldest boxing move in decades" at MSG. TVKO will put $30M into the fight while MSG will pay $8.5M (Kevin Kernan, N.Y. POST, 12/1). Promotional stops are scheduled for today in Boston and DC, tomorrow in Chicago and Thursday in L.A. and Anaheim (NEWSDAY, 12/1). HOPING FOR A KO: The PPV price "has not been decided," but Michael Katz of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS writes that "the guess is that it'll be $49.95." King would need 740,000 PPV buys to "break even," according to Lewis' lawyer, Milt Chwasky (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/1). At the press conference, King predicted "two million buys." The TIMES' Richard Sandomir notes that "no fight has ever rung up two million pay-per-view purchases," as 1.89 million for the second Holyfield-Mike Tyson fight is the record. HBO's Abraham predicted one million buys (N.Y. TIMES, 12/1).