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Saturday, 8 June, 2002, 22:03 GMT 23:03 UK
Big fight touts take a beating
Mike Tyson is surrounded by fans as he leaves his gym
Despite the crowds, the fight is not a sell-out
Ticket touts hoping to cash in on demand for the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight were facing large losses in the run-up to Saturday's bout.

Promoters declared the heavyweight championship contest a $23m sell-out almost immediately after it was announced.

But 12 hours before Lewis and Tyson stepped into the ring at the Pyramid Arena, tickets were still on sale at the venue's box office.

That left scalpers who had expected to sell seats for many times their face value scrambling to offload them at knock-down prices.

One seasoned tout described the situation as the worst ticket glut seen in American sport for 25 years.

And another declared: "This is brutal.

"I'm just hoping to get close to face value but it is going to be tough - there are a lot of people out here."

On the street, tickets priced at $900 were being offered to fans at $650 - but there were still no takers.

It has been reported that the Lewis and Tyson camps both returned millions of dollars worth of tickets they could not sell, many of them ringside seats priced at $2,400.

"This a disaster," said a dejected tout.

"And it's probably just going to get crazy as the fight gets closer."

A look at the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight

Lewis stuns Tyson

Our man in Memphis

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