New Jersey and California are the leading candidates to host the orphaned
Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight now that Nevada has closed its doors to the
Citing Tyson's checkered past in and out of the ring, five members of the
Nevada Athletic Commission voted 4-1 Jan. 29 to deny Tyson his boxing license,
placing HBO Pay-Per-View's and Showtime Event Television's plans for the
pay-per-view mega-fight in limbo.
Executives from both sides, though, expressed cautious optimism that the
April 6 fight could still be salvaged.
Showtime and Home Box Office -- which, in an industry first, are co-promoting
the fight -- are looking at 'several' other venues for the event, originally set
for Las Vegas.
Both companies were optimistic that Tyson would be licensed despite the ugly
melee that took place between the two fighters during the Jan. 22 press
conference announcing the bout.
But the Nevada commission -- considering Tyson's actions at the press
conference, at which he also verbally assaulted a reporter, as well as past
incidents -- denied the request after a nearly three-hour hearing Tuesday.
Sources said Los Angeles' Staples Center and New Jersey's Meadowlands Sports
Complex are the front-runners.
Even if a deal for a new site can be signed, the bout must still clear a
number of hurdles. Lewis, who holds the World Boxing Council and International
Boxing Association heavyweight belts, has yet to decide whether he still wants
to fight Tyson.
Lewis, who claims Tyson bit him during the press-conference brawl, said in a
prepared statement that he wants to 'consider carefully the reasons expressed by
the commission in denying the license' before determining whether to go on with
Both Showtime and HBO would also have to restructure the economic terms of
the fight. Based on a multimillion-dollar upfront guarantee from the MGM Grand
Hotel in Las Vegas, the fighters were expected to receive about $17 million
But it's doubtful that another venue would ante up as much, thereby
jeopardizing the fighters' purses, sources said.
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