Media World: Fighting for Viewers

Peter Fiddick

One thing that has given me most innocently malicious glee in recent months has been the stand-off over the world heavyweight boxing championship. This is not a topic in which I have taken any significant interest since Muhammad Ali was in his gloriously athletic heyday, since when I have drifted towards the view that the professional boxing industry should probably be declassified as a sport and the ear-biting, referee-clouting Mr Tyson, in any case, barred from taking part in it.

Well, none of my business. But with the return to the ring of Mike Tyson we are also watching an intriguing media situation. On the one hand, the ludicrously divided boxing world, with its three separate title-giving organisations, sees a crock of gold if it can get the notorious Tyson and the multi-world champion Lennox Lewis, from Britain, together. On the other hand, the immovable fact that the relay rights to Tysons fights are contracted to one big US cable television network, Lennoxs to another.