While the Aug. 7 Shannon Briggs-Francois Botha pay-per-view
fight was entertaining, it failed to single out a clear-cut opponent for former
heavyweight champion Mike Tyson's proposed December PPV return.
The action-packed fight, which ended in a majority draw,
attracted about 45,000 PPV buys, distributor Showtime Event Television said. The event was
supposed to elicit a front-line opponent to face Tyson in the beleaguered fighter's
first PPV event since January.
Both fighters held some intrigue as potential opponents:
Botha embarrassed Tyson in January before getting knocked out in the fifth round, while
Briggs is billed as one of the up-and-coming heavyweight contenders, and he hails from
Tyson's hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Instead, the fight left more questions than answers.
"It certainly isn't as conclusive as we were hoping it would have been,"
SET vice president and executive producer Jay Larkin said. "We thought it was a
terrific fight, but the result was not conclusive enough to determine a [future] Tyson
Tyson advisor Shelly Finkel said that after their
performances, neither fighter can now be considered an opponent for the December event.
"Neither fighter looked that great," Finkel added, although he would not
elaborate on other possible Tyson foes.
Meanwhile, Tyson's Oct. 2 Showtime fight is now in
jeopardy. Leading opponent James "Buster" Douglas pulled out last week after his
handlers determined that he could not get into fighting shape in time for the event.
Finkel said the fight would most likely be rescheduled for
later in the month, although he would not reveal possible opponents. Published reports,
however, named former cruiserweight Orlin Norris and heavyweight contender Zeljko Mavrovic
as potential foes.
If the fight is indeed moved, it will probably not
interfere with the proposed December PPV Tyson bout. "The intent still is to have
[Tyson] fight two times this year," Larkin said.
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