Boxing: Holyfield signs up for title rematch
Monday 22 March 1999
Don King, who will promote the second triple-title fight following the controversial draw at Madison Square Garden nine days ago, confirmed Holyfield's agreement for another contest which is set to earn the boxers $20m (pounds 12.5m) each in an even split of the purse. Lewis received only half of his opponent's $20m for the first meeting.
Lewis had already put his name to paper for a rematch under the contractual terms of the first WBC-WBA-IBF bout last week.
"I've signed both fighters for the rematch. When you have a dispute you have a rematch," King said. "Holyfield wants to fight in September, and Lewis wants to fight in September, so we're going to see if we can work it out for September."
Frank Maloney, the manager of the WBC champion Lewis, said: "There is no venue yet, but it will be parity purse money. I think the rematch will break every record in boxing history. The result was a travesty but in another way it's made everybody in the world aware of boxing.
"Lennox is the uncrowned, undisputed champion, but this time he will put it beyond doubt. Boxing needs this fight, there was no other way for Lewis or Holyfield to go. They had to have this fight to put the record straight. Holyfield being the man and the warrior he is, there is no way he could have walked away from it. If he did he would have to have walked away from boxing."
Lewis, who will almost certainly have to fight in America again, said: "I'm looking forward to doing it this time. I will be lifted even more by the whole country being behind me, the support has kept me going."
The 65,000-capacity Yankee Stadium in New York has been mentioned as a possible venue. King is keen on a venue which would at least double the gate receipts of the first fight, which ended in uproar and is now being investigated by the State Attorney.
Angry British fans have begun legal steps to seek damages. "They want a return of the money spent on the trip on the basis that what they saw was not a fair and proper fight," said lawyer Stephen Alexander. "People expected to see the heavyweight championship staged in a proper manner."
Lewis looked to have done enough to become undisputed champion, but scores of 115-113 from New Jersey judge Eugenia Williams and 115-115 from Britain's Larry O'Connell enabled Holyfield to go home with his WBA and IBF crowns intact.
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