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From Across the Strip: ‘The Good Guys Won’

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Late Tuesday night, organizers of the Riddick Bowe-Evander Holyfield pay-per-view bout at Caesars Palace sounded like the winning side of a hard-won surrender.

“We always thought we were the main event, now we’re the only event,” said Time Warner Sports chief Seth Abraham, who battled publicly with Don King over the staging of the competing heavyweight bouts scheduled for Saturday night.

In the hours after Tyson pulled out of his bout due to a thumb injury, Abraham and the other executives who stuck with the Bowe-Holyfield fight despite King switching the Tyson fight to free television’s Fox Network sounded relieved and redeemed.

While none of them said they doubted the legitimacy of Tyson’s injury, they said they knew that their show was always the strongest for Nov. 4.

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“It’s not my thinking, because I always wanted to go up against them, but I would say that the general feeling around here is that the good guys won,” said Rock Newman, Bowe’s manager and the fight’s main promoter.

Said Dan Duva, Holyfield’s promoter: “Obviously, this makes it easier for us. I thought we’d do well anyway, but now, Christmas has come early for us.”

Newman, who had been predicting that the Tyson fight would eventually be canceled, pointed to the 10,000 tickets sold by Caesars for Bowe-Holyfield, and to the couple of thousand sold for Tyson-Mathis.

“And I think you’ll see a stampede to the box office for our fight tomorrow,” Newman said.

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Bowe and Holyfield have fought twice before, and both fights have garnered more than 900,000 pay-per-view buys. Up against a free Tyson telecast, though Bowe-Holyfield was guaranteed to start after Tyson had finished fighting, realistic estimates for Bowe-Holyfield III were anywhere from 500,000 to 700,000 buys.


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