Tyson-Golota, Lewis-Tua in the Works

Cable operators could get a much needed pay-per-view revenue punch from two heavyweight fights proposed for the fourth quarter.

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson may make his first pay-per-view appearance in more than a year in October, while heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis is expected to fight top contender David Tua sometime in November.

Tyson, arguably the biggest draw in PPV history but saddled with recent controversies inside and outside the ring, could fight controversial rival Andrew Golota in a big PPV event in late October or November, Tyson promoter Shelly Finkel said.

He last fought on PPV in January 1999, knocking out Frans Botha in five rounds. The fight generated around 700,000 buys, well below prior Tyson PPV events. Since then, Tyson has been mired in controversy, including a six-month jail stint in 1999 for a road-rage assault. Since his release, Tyson has fought three times on Showtime, but two of those events were marred by Tyson late hits.

Nevertheless, Tyson has a strong following and Finkel said a fight against Golota, also known for a tendency to deliver cheap shots, would be a "very big fight if it happens." Showtime Event Television would distribute the bout.

SET could also obtain the rights to a November Lewis-Tua fight, depending upon which promoter wins a purse bid expected this Tuesday (Aug. 15).

If Tua promoter America Presents outbids Lewis promoter Panos Eliades for the event, sources said SET, which has a deal with Tua, would most likely distribute the event, even though Lewis has a multifight contract with Showtime competitor Home Box Office.

If Eliades wins, TVKO would distribute the fight.

Neither SET nor HBO would comment.

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.