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AFTER SATURDAY'S CONTROVERSY, WHAT WILL BOXING DRAW UP NEXT?
Published March 15, 1999
After a "controversial draw" between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis at MSG on Saturday night, boxing's "three major sanctioning bodies," the IBF, WBC and WBA, "ordered" a rematch to be held "within six months" (William Gildea, WASHINGTON POST, 3/15). After the draw was announced, PPV commentator Jim Lampley: "Once again, boxing's cesspool has opened to emit an unconscionable odor" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/15). NY Gov. George Pataki said that he "would ask" the NY State Athletic Commission "to look into" the decision. Pataki said that the commission "has worked hard to bring championship boxing back" to MSG, "but it has to be done in a way that upholds the integrity of the game and people's confidence in the sport" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/15). PPV: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir reported that King could make "up to" $6M from PPV, as TVKO's "tracking of cable systems" indicated 1.1-1.4 million buys. Sandomir wrote that the fight, which cost $50 for PPV, "could have been sold for $40 or $45." But Time Warner Sports President Seth Abraham said PPV buys "are not sensitive to the price if the value is right. ... Fifty dollars felt right. We felt that the price was equal to the value of the fight" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/14). In London, Patrick Harverson reports that "early returns indicate more than" 1.2 million PPV buys, "bringing in about" $60M to the event's promoters. Another $15M was earned from the 21,300 ticket sales at MSG, in addition to the $8.5M fee charged to MSG to host the fight (FINANCIAL TIMES, 3/15). NEW TV POLICY? In Boston, Ron Borges wrote that HBO "used the occasion" of the fight to tell promoters whom they work with that the network "is no longer willing to accept unattractive challengers for its stable of world champions." Time Warner's Abraham: "We told them all we are going to be far more stringent in the fights we'll accept. We have momentum going in boxing and we want to keep it going with good fights" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/14).