The pay-per-view industry is close to getting two major
heavyweight events in the first quarter of 1999 featuring two of the most prolific revenue
generators in PPV history. Showtime Event Television is expected to announce this week the
return of former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson to the ring, in a Jan. 16 event from Las
Vegas against journeyman and former champion Frans Botha.
Meanwhile, TVKO is near completion of a March 13
heavyweight-unification fight between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis from Madison
Square Garden in New York.
Representatives from SET would only confirm a press
conference Tuesday (Nov. 17), but sources close to the situation said Tyson -- who
hasn't fought being suspended in June 1997 for biting Holyfield's ear -- will
fight Botha, who once held the International Boxing Federation heavyweight championship.
And current IBF and World Boxing Association champion
Holyfield is close to finalizing a deal to fight World Boxing Council champ Lennox Lewis
in the first heavyweight bout with all of the major titles on the line since Holyfield
fought Riddick Bowe in 1992.
"There's been a significant level of progress
made between all of the parties involved [with Holyfield-Lewis]," said Mark Taffet,
senior vice president of programming and operations for TVKO.
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