Nets Scramble to Save Tyson-Lewis

Home Box Office and Showtime Event Television will have to go outside of
Nevada to stage a proposed April 6 Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson mega-heavyweight
championship pay-per-view fight after the state's athletic commission denied
Tyson a boxing license Tuesday.

Citing Tyson's past incidents both inside and outside of the ring, the
five-member Nevada State Athletic Commission voted 4-1 to deny Tyson's request
for a state boxing license, putting the Lewis-Tyson fight in jeopardy.

Sources close to the situation said co-promoters HBO and Showtime had not
made a decision to move the fight to another location in the United States or
out of the country at press time.

The fight was expected to provide a major boost to the PPV-boxing category,
which generated just $93 million in 2001.

Even if another locale is found, it's unclear if Lewis will go through with
the event.

'I have no decision yet about the possibility of fighting Mike Tyson in
another jurisdiction that may license him because I want to consider carefully
the reasons expressed by the commission in denying the license,' World Boxing
Council and International Boxing Federation champion Lewis said in a prepared

Both networks expressed optimism prior to the fight's Jan. 22 press
conference that the commission -- which suspended Tyson's license in 1997 after
he bit Evander Holyfield's ear during their championship fight -- would clear
Tyson to fight Lewis.

But Tyson's tirade at the press conference -- during which he rushed Lewis,
inciting a full-fledged melee -- reflected poorly with the commission despite
his apologies for his actions during the hearing.

R. Thomas Umstead

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.