Lewis' purse not dependent on pay-per-view

Challenger gets $11M, Nevada commission says



November 16, 2001|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

LAS VEGAS - Perhaps part of the reason Lennox Lewis hasn't been so gung-ho about promoting tomorrow night's heavyweight title rematch with Hasim Rahman is that his purse, unlike Rahman's, doesn't depend on the pay-per-view sales.

Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, revealed that the contracts signed with his organization show Lewis earning $11 million and Rahman $5 million.

"That's what the Las Vegas contract shows. We have a separate deal outside of this. We're guaranteed $5 million minimum on foreign TV sales, on cable TV coverage and from the site fee. It doesn't go on the contract right away," said Rahman's co-manager Stan Hoffman, adding that his fighter's $5 million signing bonus is not included in the purse."[Promoter] Don King has 90 days to pay us. We'll wind up making around $12 million if everything goes the way we want it to."

The weigh-in

Rahman flexed both arms as he displayed a ripped, 236-pound body after yesterday's weigh-in at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino. Lewis also looked to be in top shape, coming in at 246.

Rahman was 2 pounds fewer than he weighed in April, when he knocked out a 253-pound Lewis in South Africa to earn the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Council titles he will defend against Lewis.

The fighters have been separated all week, and yesterday was no different. Rahman weighed in on one side of a metal and Plexiglas barrier and Lewis on the other.

Rahman free agent

Rahman lacked an HBO contract going into the first fight with Lewis, and he goes into the rematch - this time, by choice - the same way. If he wins, his marketability could go through the roof. A loss would dwindle his appeal dramatically.

At Wednesday's news conference, King defended Rahman's refusal to sign an HBO contract, calling the network's offer "emasculating."

"We want a signing bonus and a minimum purse for $10 million," King said. "They say we're crazy, but if we knock him out again Saturday, we won't be so crazy."

Mark Taffett, an HBO executive, retorted: "The deals that were topped" - referring to King's signing of Rahman - "were only topped by the undeals. And the trials, only by the tribulations. The money that changed hands was topped only by the money that didn't."

Calling the fight

Undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins will be a guest commentator on the Rahman-Lewis telecast.

Underdog undercard

An undercard bout will feature former World Boxing Organization champ Henry Akinwande (40-1-1, 26 knockouts) against former WBC champ Oliver McCall (38-7, 28 KOs).

McCall is noteworthy for two reasons: His big right hand led to Lewis' first loss via a second-round knockout, and, in his return match with Lewis, he succumbed after crying in the ring. Akinwande is best known for being disqualified for holding against Lewis in the only loss of his career.

The joke all week long has been this: If McCall cries in the ring, Akinwande can give him a hug.

Ocean's Eleven

If he had it to do over, Lewis said he would have concentrated on his training for his first bout with Rahman rather than participate in the filming of Ocean's Eleven. Lewis plays the heavyweight champ and WBO king Wladimir Klitschko, his opponent in a fight that is the backdrop for a movie about a casino heist in Las Vegas.

"I win the fight," said Lewis, who will see the Dec. 7 premiere of the movie featuring Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Don Cheadle and Brad Pitt. "Looking back at it, maybe I wouldn't have done it, realizing the result."

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