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Cable Operators

Tyson’s Loss Is Morales’ Gain

8/06/2004 10:17 AM Eastern

While former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson’s July 30 match may have drawn more buys for Showtime Sports than Erik Morales’ July 31 bout, it’s the smaller man who may pack a stronger future pay-per-view punch.

At press time, it was still unclear how many buys the Tyson-Danny Williams fight generated, but industry observers believe it was only slightly above the nearly 150,000 Morales drew in beating Carlos Hernandez to unify the super-featherweight title.

Industry executives said Williams’ shocking fourth-round knockout all but finished Tyson as a big-ticket PPV draw and may have ended his career.

As the erstwhile “Iron Mike” was healing from surgery to repair a knee injury suffered in his loss, it was unclear if Showtime -- which signed Tyson to a multifight deal prior to the July 30 event -- will look to distribute any of his future bouts as PPV cards. Showtime executives could not be reached for comment.

If Tyson’s PPV future is in limbo, Morales’ appeal is apparently on the rise. HBO Sports senior vice president of sports operations Mark Taffet said Morales’ performance -- his best since drawing 300,000 buys in a June 2002 bout against Marco Antonio Barerra -- puts him among the top echelon of Hispanic-targeted PPV fighters.

Although no bouts have been scheduled, Taffet said Morales may fight one more PPV event this fall. Down the line, he added, Morales could square off against such top names as Floyd Mayweather and Barerra again in the near future.

September