Boxing: Lewis-Tyson fight faces a long delay

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The Independent Online
FRANK MALONEY thinks "the fight the world wants to see" - Lennox Lewis against Mike Tyson - might not go ahead until 2001.

Maloney, Lewis's manager, had said that his man and Tyson would fight next year after the 34-year-old Briton was crowned the undisputed world champion when he defeated Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas last month.

But yesterday Maloney admitted: "There's lots of politics and complications, so it may not happen until the year 2001. That's the ultimate fight, it's the fight the world wants to see. If someone said to me `what fight would you like to make?', that's the fight I would like to make tomorrow."

Lewis has plans for three title defences next year, the first in March. "If it's Michael Grant it will be in America, if it's Frans Botha from South Africa we hope to stage that fight in England," said Maloney, adding that Lewis was also considering a third contest against Holyfield.

Meanwhile, the governor of New York State, George Pataki, has rejected a plan that would have required judges' scorecards to be publicly posted after each round. He also rejected a measure that would have made judges demonstrate they are "financially responsible" before being licensed by the state's Athletic Commission to work fights.

Both legislative proposals were in response to the controversial draw declared at Madison Square Garden on 13 March between Holyfield and Lewis in a fight most observers felt Lewis had clearly won. The judging of the bout was condemned afterwards, especially the scoring of the judge selected by the International Boxing Federation, Eugenia Williams of New Jersey, who had Holyfield winning the fight. Pataki called that decision "disgraceful".

But Pataki said that no other American state uses an open scoring system and that the District of Columbia abandoned it after a short trial. He added that drawbacks with the system include boxers who would stop being aggressive if they are way ahead on all the cards, the possible intimidation of judges by spectators who do not agree with their scoring and "a diminution of the element of suspense which is integral to the sport."

The other bill vetoed by Pataki for fight judges to meet various criteria to be certified as financially responsible emerged after it was revealed that Williams had filed for bankruptcy about seven weeks before the first Holyfield-Lewis bout.

Pataki said he agreed that financial difficulties "can affect both the ability of a judge to impartially score a match and public confidence in the judge's impartiality", but he said the legislation he vetoed was "too inflexible".