Boxing: Lewis and Holyfield camps begin to discuss unification

A meeting held yesterday at Don King's office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, left associates of Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis to work out a formula for unifying the world heavyweight championship. There remains a possibility that they could meet in May or June next year but only if their demands make financial sense to the American cable network Home Box Office.

Milt Chwasky, the attorney who represents Lewis's promoters, indicated that an understanding now exists between both camps leaving King to reach an agreement with HBO's parent company Time Warner.

A problem is that neither champion is a big attraction in the pay-per- view market. Lewis is not box office and HBO's main rivals, Showtime, the company which has a close connection with King, lost $8m (pounds 4.8m) on the recent contest between Holyfield and Michael Moorer.

An alternative proposition for Holyfield is to take a defence against Henry Akinwande while waiting to see whether the indefinite suspension imposed on Mike Tyson for biting his ear is lifted when it comes up for review next June. Although Lewis has indicated that he would be willing to take the short end of the purse against Holyfield there is also the fact that King may not want to offend his Showtime connections.

Yesterday's meeting in Florida may have brought Holyfield and Lewis closer together, but much now depends on negotiations between King and Time Warner's chief negotiator, Seth Abraham.

The former heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison faces six months in jail after he was convicted on Saturday of driving while intoxicated and two related charges. Morrison also faces civil suits regarding an accident in August which injured three people.