Opportunities to see James "Buster" Douglas defend his world heavyweight boxing title against Evander Holyfield on Thursday night will be limited in the Tampa Bay area. Only Vision Cable in Pinellas County will carry the fight card on a pay-per-view basis, and only four sports bars in Hillsborough County plus the Tampa Convention Center will have closed-circuit viewing.
The fight will not be aired on pay-per-view through Jones Intercable in Hillsborough or Paragon Cable in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. And it's not because those cable companies didn't want to buy the rights.
"We were counting on being able to offer the fight to our viewers," said Denise Carlin-Hewitt, pay-per-view manager at Jones Intercable. "They just called us up and told us it wasn't an option."
The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas _ site of the bout _ retained pay-per-view rights in the state and sold the closed-circuit rights to K-Zac Promotions in Miami. As part of the deal with K-Zac, the Mirage agreed not to offer pay-per-view to Jones or Paragon, leaving all of Hillsborough and most of Pinellas in the dark.
The fight will not be offered anywhere in St. Petersburg.
Pay-per-view on Vision Cable will cost subscribers $34.95 through Wednesday and $39.95 the day of the fight.
The four Hillsborough sports bars with closed-circuit hookups are the Press Box, Press Box II, Champions Sports Bar, and Bogie's.
Douglas and Holyfield also can be seen at A.J.'s in Spring Hill, the Sarasota Brewing Company in Sarasota, and the Manatee Convention and Civic Center in Palmetto.
The convention centers and bars are charging from $25 to $75 per person for a seat.
Wendy O'Lenic, public-relations spokeswoman for Champions, said the establishment paid about $3,000 to K-Zac for the hookup. That includes use of the satellite, decoder and insurance for the equipment. The bar had to guarantee 100 people.
WHERE TO SEE THE FIGHT
The newly opened Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St.: $25 in advance, $30 the day of the fight through TicketMaster. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Information: 223-8511.
The Press Box, 222 S Dale Mabry Highway, and Press Box II, 4802 Gunn Highway: $50, which includes a shrimp or prime rib dinner. Doors open at 9 p.m. Information: 876-3528 and 265-3262.
Champions Sports Bar, Marriott Hotel, 1001 N West Shore Blvd.: $40 for a reserved seat and two cocktails. Information: 287-2555.
Bogie's, 16411 N Florida Ave., Lutz: $35 in advance, $45 at the door; includes a buffet. Doors open at 6 p.m. Information: 961-7888.
A.J.'s, 1252 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill: $40 general admission; includes a steak dinner. Information: (904) 688-1371.
Sarasota Brewing Company, 6607 Gateway Ave.: $30; VIP seat, including a prime rib dinner, $75. Information: 925-2337.
Manatee Civic and Convention Center, 1 Hayben Way, Bradenton: $25 and $30 through TicketMaster, plus a $3.25 fee.