While the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight may not have lived up to expectations
inside the ring, it certainly hit on all financial cylinders for the
The fight pulled in 1.8 million PPV buys and a record $103 million in PPV
revenue, according to fight co-promoters HBO Pay-Per-View and Showtime Event
Television. The fight -- in which Lewis knocked out Tyson in the eighth round of
a noncompetitive bout -- surpassed the $99 million revenue mark set by the 1997
Evander Holyfield-Tyson II bout.
The 1.8 million buys, however, fell short of Holyfield-Tyson II's 1.99
million. Nevertheless, PPV executives were ecstatic over the event's
'It was a PPV masterpiece that lifted the sport and gave boxing fans a night
to remember,' HBO PPV senior vice president Mark Taffet said.
Added Showtime Sports and Event Programming senior VP of sales and affiliate
marketing Donovan Gordon, 'Lewis vs. Tyson exceeded our expectations on many
But Lewis' thorough dominance of Tyson will most likely curtail any future
blockbuster PPV events from the heavyweight category.
It's highly unlikely that a rematch -- which was part of the original fight
deal -- will happen in the near future, if at all. Sources said the deal allows
both Lewis and Tyson an interim bout before discussing a rematch.
Both fighters hinted about retiring during postfight interviews, although
many boxing observers believe both will continue to fight. Even if Tyson were to
continue fighting, sources said, his historically high PPV appeal is all but
completely eroded with his loss.
'It will be a long time before Tyson ever fights on PPV again,' one PPV
The unassuming Lewis has never been able to carry a PPV event on his own, and
there are no attractive, up-and-coming heavyweight contenders to build a marquee
PPV event around.
Heavyweight boxing fans can look forward to a July 27 bout between Larry
Holmes and Butterbean.
Holmes, a former heavyweight boxing champion, and Eric 'Butterbean' Esch, a
former toughman-competition champion, will fight in a 10-round bout, which event
promoters are touting as a fight for 'respect.'
PPV event provider Spring Communications and sports-event company Prostar
will co-promote the event, which will retail at a suggested price of $19.95.
'It's a boxing match, but we know it's not a fight for the three [major
heavyweight championship belts],' Prostar president John Parks said. 'We think
it will be a fun and exciting event.'
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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.