Fox to air next Tyson fight

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Fox Broadcasting Co. on Thursday announced details of its Nov. 4 prime-time telecast of Mike Tyson's fight against Buster Mathis Jr., the first free prime-time broadcast of a heavyweight fight in a dozen years. Fox is teaming with Mr. Tyson's representatives, Don King Productions and Showtime Event Television, which originally planned the bout as a pay-per-view event.

They opted for the broadcast venue instead to generate publicity and throw a KO at the rival November pay-per-view telecast of a heavyweight fight between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield, from Time Warner Sports' TVKO unit.

Fox executives declined to comment on how much Fox is paying to license the event, but one did say "there are a lot of zeros attached." Pay-per-view events of this magnitude ordinarily generate tens of millions of dollars in orders. It would be unusual for a broadcast network to pay more than a couple of million for such an event.

The ad-supported telecast is being scheduled for three hours in prime time and will likely feature other bouts on the card.

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