NEW YORK — Mike Tyson’s fights used to be automatic pay-per-view events, but for the third time in a row, a Tyson bout will end up on Showtime.
The reason for continuing Tyson’s comeback express on Showtime, sources said, is that his next bout, a 10-rounder on Saturday, May 20, will come from the Fila Forum in Milan, Italy, necessitating a tape delay. The fear of Tyson’s handlers is that news of an early knockout would be instantly available on the 24-hour news channels, causing fans to reject the idea of ponying up $49.95 on pay-per-view.
Tyson figures to pocket between $8 million and $10 million for the fight, one source said, leaving about $1.25 million for his opponent, Lou Savarese, who was born in New York and has a 39-3 record, including 32 knockouts.
Showtime may try to make the most of the Tyson-Savarese fight by scheduling it during a free-preview weekend, hoping to lure lots of new subscribers.
Tyson sent everybody home early in his previous two fights, knocking out Julius Francis one minute into the second round at Manchester, England, and winning a TKO in Las Vegas over Oren Norris, who failed to come out of his corner for the second round after a controversial late punch thrown by Tyson.
Sports Network Europe will promote the fight. The executive producer is Jay Larkin, the producer David Dinkins and the director Bob Dunphy. Calling the fight will be Steve Albert, Freddie Pacheco and Bobby Czyz, with Jim Gray as sideline reporter.