Boxing: Doubt over Lewis fight

PANOS ELIADES, the promoter, believes there is no chance of a heavyweight unification rematch between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, despite claims by Don King that the fight is definitely on.

Eliades said: "I'm having great difficulty in putting the fight together and in my opinion I think this fight is not going to take place."

Eliades' claims are supported by executives of Home Box Office, the television channel that was expected to show the fight live. They say no deal has been struck for a Lewis-Holyfield re-match, despite King's public declaration that the two fighters will face each other again. King had announced a deal with a Las Vegas casino firm for hosting rights. Madison Square Garden had been vying with Las Vegas bidders for a chance at the re-match.

Eliades said: "King made his statement last week saying he's signed a six-fight deal including Holyfield-Lewis. But he's nowhere near signing Holyfield-Lewis - he's signed Holyfield but HBO and King are at loggerheads. They can't get it together and it looks like it could fall away unless I can do a deal where King and HBO accept my proposition."

Eliades, speaking on Sky Sports' Ringside boxing programme, also dismissed King's claims that the fight would happen in Las Vegas. He said: "If he's not the promoter that casino doesn't have the fight. I have an agreement with Mandalay Bay, they've offered me pounds 10m for Lewis Holyfield. So if I promote the fight Mandalay Bay get the fight."

Television company officials in Las Vegas, who came to an extraordinary agreement to create the first fight that ended in a controversial draw last March at Madison Square Garden in New York, have also dismissed King's claims.

Lou DiBella, an executive with HBO, who along with Showtime own pay-per- view rights to the two fighters, said: "There's no deal. There are some problematic issues that need to be worked out."