The fight for your wallet goes on

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 September, 1996, 12:00am

Next Sunday sees the latest WBA heavyweight title bout, between champion Bruce Seldon and Mike Tyson - stage two of Tyson's bid to re-unify the title. On paper it's just another stepping stone for Tyson but who can forget what Buster Douglas, another no-hoper, did to Tyson in Tokyo six years ago? If you want to see it in Hong Kong your only option is the all-devouring Wharf Cable channel. They have gradually sewn up most of the soccer that's worth watching (FA Cup, Premier League, Euro 96) and have been regularly showing big title fights on an exclusive pay-per-view basis on their Cineplex channel. That's the case here.

But at $140 (or $100 for early booking) it's hardly a bargain. Especially as the very nature of boxing means the contest could be over before you've settled in to your armchair. Previous Tyson exclusives against Peter McNeeley and Frank Bruno have hardly been epics.

Even if you try watching at a sports bar (which are sprouting in all corners of the territory) you'll be hard-pressed to find one that isn't asking an admission price, an odious practice that is becoming more common for big events. (Or even sham big events like this one). The Cable fee does include more than just the headline bout. But even the full bill - which should last three-to-four hours - entails lots of time between fights with nothing much happening. If the price doesn't put you off watching, maybe the Wharf hype will. For weeks now their house ads have been crowing: 'The only two true champions are getting ready for the fight of the century. It's liberation as Tyson meets Seldon.' Er, hang on a minute. 'Fight of the century'? But wasn't there some sort of Thrilla in Manila? And didn't the Jungle have a Rumble in it once? And 'liberation'? The only emancipation going on will be the money being liberated from your wallet. ESPN's live coverage of the new NFL season starts today at 11 am with a re-match of the 1990 season SuperBowl as the New York Giants host the Buffalo Bills.

Tomorrow, reigning champions the Dallas Cowboys travel to face the Chicago Bears, also live on ESPN (9 am). And next Monday (September 9) at 8 am they show the Miami Dolphins, under new coach Jimmy Johnson, at the Arizona Cardinals. STAR Sports chip in with a recorded game on Friday at 11 am but the teams have yet to be announced.