Boxing: Lewis and Bruno prepare to negotiate: Splitting the purse of Britain's richest and biggest fight could be a stumbling block

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The Independent Online
THE fight between Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno, which has the potential to gross pounds 18m and become Britain's richest fight, has been earmarked to take place on 4 or 11 September at either Wembley Stadium, Old Trafford or Birmingham City's St Andrews football ground.

However, there is still a long way to go before the fight can be called definite. Both Lewis and Bruno have other assignments to take care of before negotiations can proceed. Lewis will be making a first defence of his World Boxing Council heavyweight title against Tony Tucker in Las Vegas on 8 May, while Bruno meets the former world championship contender, Carl Williams, in Birmingham on 24 April.

Mickey Duff, Bruno's promoter, said: 'There is no specific agreement as yet. But talks are positive and things will be happening in the next few weeks.'

However, Frank Maloney, Lewis's manager, said that splitting the purse will be a 'major stumbling block, with Bruno unlikely to accept a 25 per cent share of the money'.

That could prove to be the major sticking point, with Bruno and Duff insisting they will be bringing their popularity to the fight - and consequently boosting the revenue.

Lewis's American promoter, Dan Duva, cautioned Bruno not to press for too large a purse. 'The standard is 25 per cent, but non-mandatory challengers like Frank are getting less than 10 per cent.

'If you believe you can win, and I believe Frank thinks he can win, it's stupid to pass up a chance for a couple of hundred thousand dollars when you could be looking at multi-millions and millions of dollars,' Duva said. 'The one thing you don't do is blow the deal if you think you can win. If you don't think you can win, then you negotiate that bit harder.'