Fight aud disappoints

Event one-third of Tyson debacle

Saturday night’s heavyweight championship fight in which Evander Holyfield scored a technical knockout over Michael Moorer rang up slightly more 700,000 buys in the pay-per-view universe, more than the 650,000 purchases pulled in by the first Holyfield-Moorer fight in 1994 but fewer than expected.

Indeed, Showtime Event TV (SET) was hoping for at least 900,000 homes purchasing the fight at an average of $45.95, but preliminary estimates Monday put SET about 200,000 homes short.

“Yes, we’re a little disappointed,” admitted SET executive VP Mark Greenberg. “On the other hand, 700,000 buys at 46 bucks each is not inconsequential.”

It is, however, only about one-third of the nearly 2 million customers who bought the June 28 debacle in which Mike Tyson was disqualified for twice biting Holyfield on the ears (taking a chunk out of one).

Is the relatively light interest in Holyfield-Moorer a case of public backlash after Tyson-Holyfield?

“I don’t think people are so much down on pay-per-view as they are on boxing,” Greenberg said. “That fight turned some people off, no question about it.

“On the other hand, this fight had guys who just aren’t controversial. The press doesn’t want to write about those guys in the same way they write about Tyson. They’re good guys. So it didn’t generate the electricity and buzz it should have.”

The Holyfield-Moorer fight didn’t even sell out the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, where it was held. It leaves SET executives pondering a single conclusion: getting Tyson back into the ring as quickly as possible. He is eligible for reinstatement by the Nevada State Athletic Commission next July.

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