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HBO Eyes PPV Boxing Beyond Retiring Lewis

An already thin list of potential pay-per-view boxing draws shrunk by one more fighter last week with the announced retirement of World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

Lewis' retirement further scrambles an already shaky PPV boxing schedule for Home Box Office's pay-per-view arm. The network was hoping to offer a potentially lucrative rematch between Lewis and Vitali Klitschko in April.

Instead, the network is hoping to fill a proposed April 17 or April 24 date with a potential Roy Jones Jr. bout against middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins or a rematch with light heavyweight contender Antonio Tarver, said the network.

Former junior middleweight champion and PPV darling Oscar De La Hoya will most likely fight on June 5, possibly against rival Fernando Vargas. Another potential April card produced by promoter Don King could feature several heavyweight championship bouts.

Lewis, arguably the biggest name in the heavyweight division, will hang up his gloves after a 14-year career in which he fought in some of the most lucrative PPV fights in history. Lewis's June 2002 fight with Mike Tyson ranks as the most successful PPV event of all time, generating more than $103 million in revenue.

Still, the unassuming Lewis never ascended to the PPV performance heights that Tyson and former champion Evander Holyfield achieved. In fact, Lewis's only big-ticket PPV events came against those two warriors.

"Lennox was the greatest heavyweight of his era and we were privileged to work with him on some of the biggest and most important fights in the sport's history," HBO senior vice president of sports operations Mark Taffet said.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.