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Updated: May 7, 12:53 PM ET
HBO, Showtime suggest $54.95 to catch fight

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis heavyweight title fight will be available on pay-per-view in about 50 million homes at a recommended price of $54.95 -- both record highs.

HBO and Showtime wrapped up distribution deals with cable and satellite systems this week, they said Thursday. The June 8 fight at the Memphis Pyramid will be the first boxing match jointly distributed and marketed by the two cable networks.

Showtime has a contract with Tyson; HBO has a deal with Lewis.

Tyson is ranked No. 1 by the WBC, and the fight will be a mandatory defense for Lewis, who regained the WBC and IBF titles by knocking out Hasim Rahman in the fourth round in November.

"We have our predictions and we certainly feel that this can do in excess of a million pay-per-view buys," Showtime senior vice president Donovan Gordon said. "But there's no one number we're saying it has to hit."

The last pay-per-view event to top 1 million buys was the 1999 fight between Lewis and Evander Holyfield.

The record is the nearly 2 million pay-per-view buys for the second Tyson-Holyfield bout, in 1997, when Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield's ears. At $49.95 per buy, it produced almost $100 million in gross revenues from domestic pay-per-view.

Six of the 10 highest-grossing pay-per-view events were Tyson fights.

HBO and Showtime are making Tyson-Lewis available in about 32 million cable households, 18 million satellite households, and 2,000 close-circuit venues.

"We expect there to be a tremendous number of early orders for the fight," HBO vice president Mark Taffet said.

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