AFTER SATURDAY'S CONTROVERSY, WHAT WILL BOXING DRAW UP NEXT?
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).