Forget about pay-per-view for the next Mike Tyson fight.
Showtime, which has an over-all deal with Tyson, will schedule his Saturday, Oct. 23, bout with a little-known heavyweight named Orlin Norris. Sources say the pay-cable web will pony up approximately $12 million to produce the fight, with Tyson pocketing about $9 million and Norris collecting $800,000.
A spokesman for Tyson, who’ll fight Norris at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino at 11 p.m. EST, says the bout will go on pay TV, not pay-per-view, because it occurs on the night of the scheduled first game of the World Series.
Not a sure bet
But other sources say cable subscribers would not be willing to cough up $49.95 to see Tyson fight Norris.
Tyson, 33, has fought only three times in the last four years, most recently on Jan. 16, when he knocked out Francois Botha in the fifth round. A month later, a Maryland court sentenced Tyson to six months in jail for an earlier incident in which he assaulted two men following an auto accident.
“Tyson can still attract a crowd,” says Neal Pilson, a sports consultant and former president of CBS Sports, predicting that Showtime will chalk up a good Nielsen rating for the fight. “People will be curious about what kind of shape he’s in.”
If Tyson looks impressive against Norris, one source says, Tyson’s next fight will be on pay-per-view Dec. 11, with either Axel Schultz or Shannon Briggs.