A Heavyweight Payday

Mike Tyson may have emerged bruised and beaten in his Nov. 9 bout with Evander Holyfield, but no one else--except Vegas bookies--felt much pain. How was the purse divided? Showtime and promoter Don King split about $45 million in pay-per-view fees, and King took home the $14 million gate and $10 million from overseas and closed-circuit rights. Cable companies got an additional $36 million for carrying the fight. King is paying Tyson $30 million, Holyfield $11 million. The bookies, however, took a bath. Vegas odds dropped to 5 to 1 from 25 to 1 before the opening bell because late bettors favored Holyfield. "Everyone I've talked to was basically plastered," says Jay Kornegay of the Imperial Palace. Rematch, anyone? King, who has promotional rights, is pushing for one in March.

In all, the fight generated some $115 million in revenues, one of the biggest takes in boxing history. Most came from the 1.6 million or so fight fans who paid up to $49.95 to see the telecast.

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