Despite the negative publicity generated when Mike Tyson twice bit Evander Holyfield before being disqualified in last week's WBA heavyweight championship bout, Las Vegas remains positive about boxing for one simple reason: money.

The final numbers are not in yet for the pay-per-chew telecast, but it likely will gross between $90 million and $95 million, according to a spokesman for Showtime. The sellout live gate at the MGM Grand Garden grossed more than $14 million, and the MGM sold out two closed-circuit telecasts for $75 per seat. Other casinos sold out telecasts for $60 to $75 per ticket.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, a quasi-public entity funded by the city's hotel tax, estimated that the fight generated $8.9 million more in nongaming revenue for the city than the same weekend last year. Casinos report their profits to the Nevada Gaming Board monthly, and hotels guard their figures zealously.

Only one event -- the Super Bowl -- attracts more business to the gambling mecca, according to Las Vegas gaming industry officials.

"A heavyweight championship fight is second, a little bit more than the first round of the NCAA {men's basketball} tournament," said Dennis Dahl, director of the MGM Grand's sports book, which is licensed by the state of Nevada, home of the country's only legalized bookmaking.

"There's more money bet on the Super Bowl," Dahl said, "but a heavyweight championship fight is more hectic. Our betting is finished at 3:30 {EST} on the Super Bowl. For a fight, you can bet all evening."

Tyson, 31, was suspended indefinitely and his $30 million purse withheld following his disqualification at the end of the third round of last Saturday's fight. The Nevada State Athletic Commission will hold a disciplinary hearing Wednesday, and Tyson's boxing future is uncertain.

Tyson has one fight remaining on the six-bout contract that promoter Don King negotiated with the MGM Grand. MGM officials are not commenting about the possibility of extending the deal, although they said last week that negotiations with King for an extension would begin this week. King uncharacteristically has kept a low profile since the incident.

A report in Wednesday's editions of the Wall Street Journal questioned the future of boxing in Las Vegas. The report cited the conflict between the sport and the family image that Las Vegas and some of its major hotel-casino operators such at ITT and Hilton are trying to cultivate. A leading Wall Street analyst on gaming stocks said he was downgrading expected second-quarter earnings for such publicly traded companies as MGM Grand, Mirage Resorts Inc., ITT Corp. (which owns Caesars World Inc.) and Hilton Hotels Corp.

But Rick Rose, president of Caesars World Sports, said he disagrees with assessments that Las Vegas would not continue as a world-wide boxing capital. He also said his company would like to bid for Tyson's future bouts, when -- or if -- his suspension ends.

"Heavyweight championship fights are a major, major attraction and a major selling point for us," Rose said. "They are still the attraction. You have to know one thing: Boxing at that level is the Super Bowl. We're never going to get a {live} Super Bowl or a World Series. A heavyweight championship fight gives us the opportunity to have an equivalent."

Rose said "there's no question the casinos get a strong response" when the city is host to a heavyweight title bout. "We will continue to look at championship boxing as a viable marketing tool, as a viable special event," he said. "What happened Saturday night was an isolated event."

Actually, for the state's legal bookmakers, last Saturday was a much better night than the night last November when Holyfield -- at odds that started as high as 25 to 1 -- knocked out Tyson in the 11th round. There was little money bet on Tyson that night (because you had to risk $25 just to win $1), even when the bookmakers lowered the odds. When Holyfield won, it produced "the biggest loss I've ever been involved with," said Robert Walker, director of the Mirage's race and sports book.

According to Nevada Gaming Board figures, the betting category that includes boxing resulted in $3.1 million in losses for the sports books in Las Vegas and $4.5 million statewide last November. Bookmakers try to "balance" their books by getting an equal amount of money wagered on each side, so they have no risk. Their profit consists of the fee charged for a losing bet. For instance, in an "even-money" wager, bettors risk $11 to make a $10 profit.

Despite losing $400,000 to one bettor who wagered $100,000 on Holyfield to win by a knockout at odds of 4 to 1, Walker said the Mirage made a profit Saturday night on the several million dollars bet at his casino, five times as much as Tyson-Holyfield I generated. Walker said there were "four or five" bets of $100,000 or more, including one Tyson supporter who lost $340,000 in a bid to make $200,000, nearly covering the $400,000 won by the Holyfield-by-knockout bettor.

The MGM's Dahl said his sports book came close to setting a one-day record for money bet on a boxing match. Casinos do not reveal specific totals but Dahl said it appears at least $26 million to $27 million was bet on the fight and that the Mirage and the MGM Grand were "one-two," but he said he did not know which order.

Dahl said the MGM made an 8 percent profit on money wagered on Tyson-Holyfield II. "It was a very successful fight for us, bet evenly enough that we didn't care who won the fight." And what about a Tyson-Holyfield III?

"Mike Tyson is a worldwide figure; boxing is a worldwide sport," Dahl said. "Las Vegas is a perfect place for these things to come together. Tyson is still a draw. There might be as many people come to root against him as come to root for him."