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Volume 25 No. 46
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CAYTON'S PLANS FOR BIG FIGHT DO NOT INCLUDE ESPN'S BERNSTEIN

          Longtime boxing manager Bill Cayton, who sold his Big
     Fights library to ESPN for more than $80M, has been named a
     consultant to the sports network and "envisions nurturing"
     the new project, "Big Fights Friday Night Boxing," from a 2
     1/2 hour time slot on ESPN2 to a network program on ABC,
     according to Michael Hirsley of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.  But
     Hirsley writes that "as promising as his plans are, there
     are troubling aspects."  His ESPN deal allows him to
     continue to manage fights on a "limited basis," and he has
     joined with boxing promoter J. Russell Peltz.  Cayton has
     also "recommended replacements" for 18-year ESPN analyst Al
     Bernstein and announcer Bob Papa.  But Bernstein said he has
     two years left on his deal and has "received no notification
     from ESPN about any changes."  ESPN spokesperson Dan Quinn
     said it hopes to keep Bernstein in some other "capacity." 
     Cayton and ESPN don't "see a conflict of interest" if
     Cayton's or Peltz's fighters appear on ESPN2.  Quinn said
     the two "won't have final say on who will fight" on ESPN
     (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/21).  USA TODAY's Jon Saraceno writes,
     "In an already-blemished sport ripe with dubious business
     alliances," ESPN's decision to "hire a fight manager and
     promoter -- neither of whom is a full-time ESPN employee --
     seems rather curious."  But ESPN won't ask either Cayton or
     Peltz to "divest themselves of their fighters."  Cayton is
     paid a $1M consultant's fee.  "Big Fights" debuts October 2,
     and Cayton hopes to integrate a live fight with film clips
     from his collection (Jon Saraceno, USA TODAY, 8/21).