Originally created 07/24/99

Progress reported in Lewis-Holyfield talks



NEW YORK -- Progress is being made toward an undisputed heavyweight championship rematch between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis, but negotiations have not reached the contract stage.

"This week we came to agreement with all major issues between HBO and (promoter Don) King, but it's a handshake agreement," Lou DiBella, senior vice president of HBO Sports, said Friday. "There is no contract, and none has been drafted."

If the fight is made, it will be held Nov. 13, apparently in the Thomas & Mack Center at Las Vegas. Their March 13 fight in Madison Square Garden ended in a highly controversial draw, with most observers feeling Lewis won.

"What's happened is a natural progression of completing a deal," DiBella said. "Now King has to work out issues with Lewis' promoter and then we have to get a contract."

HBO is guaranteeing the purse of WBC champion Lewis, with whom it has a multiple-fight deal. King is supposed to pay WBA-IBF champion Holyfield and the undercard fighters.

Lewis and Holyfield each is guaranteed $15 million.

In March, Holyfield was guaranteed $20 million, and Lewis was guaranteed $10 million.

"I don't foresee a problem to getting a contract once the principal points are agreed upon," Jim Thomas, Holfyield's attorney, said by telephone from Atlanta. "This (the oral agreement) leaves some points that need to be resolved between Panos and King."

There remain some financial arrangement to be worked out between Panos Eliades, Lewis' main promoter, and Main Events, the American promoter of the champion from Britain.

Eliades has said that contracts would have to be signed by the end of July if a pay-per-view fight was to be put together for Nov. 13.