The odds with favor Muhammad Ali over Leon Spinks in their rematch Sept. 15 in New Orleans, according to Jimmy (The Greek) Snyder.
The two will sign for the rematch today in New Orleans.
"Ali will be the choice at 2 1/2 to 1," Snyder said. "The public likes Ali. The fans will not make Spinks the favorite, even though he is the champion. And the fans make the odds by much they bet on each fighter.
"I personally think it should be a tossup, even though Spinks clearly decisioned Ali in their first bout but the fans make the odds. Ali will train harder this time. He will start fighting from Round 1 instead of giving aways early rounds in trying to tire out Spinks, as he did before."
Ali became 36 years old in January; Spinks is 24. Each fighter will receive $5 million, making it a $10 million plus show.
"Cbs has 15 days to make a decision about carrying the bout (for home television) from when I present the signed contracts of the fighters after Tuesday's ceremony," Bob Arum, head of Top Rank, Inc., promoter of the bout, said in New York before leaving for New Orleans.
"I have an understanding with another network in the event that CBS does not exercise its option."
Arum declined to identify the other network. The cost to a network may be about $5 million with the cost of the promotion more than $10 million. Louisiana Sports Inc., the "live" promoter, reportedly is paying $3 million for the rights. Arum expects to sell foreign television and radio rights for about $2 million.
He said CBS paid $4.1 million for the first Ali-Spinks bout, which was not nearly so attractive beforehand, with Spinks the underdog at odds ranging from 4 to 1 to 10 to 1. The network says it lost more than $1 million on that bout, but got high television ratings.
Barry Frank, senior vice president of CBS Sports, said the newwork paid "just under" $4 million for the first Ali-Spinks bout. He said no decision has been made on the rematch yet, but remarks, "It figures to be a heck of a fight. It will do a super number (In the television ratings). I think it will be in the high 30s." Any rating in the 30s is regarded as a "hit."
Today's signing ceremony originally was scheduled for Thursday. Then Don King Productions scheduled for tommorow a formal announcement of its bout between Ken Norton and Larry Holmes, for the World Boxing Council's version of the title.
Tickets at the Superdome will be scaled from $200 at ringside down to $25. The promoters says a sellout of the 85,000 seats would bring in more than $5 million.