Boxing: Lewis on pay-per-view

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The Independent Online
LENNOX LEWIS'S heavyweight title unification fight against Evander Holyfield in New York on 13 March will be screened live on pay- per-view television in Britain following a multi-million pound deal between Sky TV and the fight promoters.

A spokesman for Sky said the contest in Madison Square Garden promised to be "one of the biggest-ever" in boxing history and said the station hoped to come close to breaking pay-per-view subscription records. Frank Bruno's fight against Mike Tyson in March 1996 drew 660,000 paying subscribers and remains the world record.

Holyfield's fight with Tyson in June 1997, which ended in the third round in the notorious ear-biting incident, drew 440,000 paying subscribers. Prices for the Holyfield-Lewis fight have yet to be announced, but they are likely to follow a similar pattern to previous Sky fights. Recent Naseem Hamed bouts have cost pounds 11.95 for subscribers booking early, rising to pounds 16.95 for those who waited until the day of the contest to book.

Boxing has been one of pay-per-view's most successful sports to date. This notion has most recently been supported by the announcement that Front Row, a new ITV digital pay- per-view station, will launch a week today by screening Tyson's latest comeback fight with Francois Botha in Las Vegas. The bout will cost viewers pounds 12.95 to watch.

n Roy Jones defends his World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council light-heavyweight titles against the southpaw Rick Frazier, a 39-year- old New York City police officer, tonight in his home town of Pensacola.