MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Welcoming the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight to Memphis has nothing to do with morality -- it's about business.
''It's not in my job description to regulate the morality of individuals who participate in sporting events,'' Mayor Willie Herenton said Tuesday. ''As mayor of this great city, I made a business decision. I think the city is going to benefit enormously.''
Lennox and Tyson will fight June 8 at The Pyramid, the city's 20,400-seat downtown sports and entertainment arena overlooking the Mississippi River. Promoters were still working Tuesday on getting a $12.5 million line of credit to cover the site fee for the fight.
Last week, First Tennessee Bank refused a line of credit to Nashville-based promoting company Prize Fight Boxing for the fight, citing a ''moral'' issue.
Among other past troubles, Tyson spent three years in prison for rape and was suspended from boxing for a year for biting opponent Evander Holyfield during a match.
That history doesn't concern the mayor.
''I know that everyone will not be pleased to have this event in our great city, but the economic benefits to our hospitality industry and The Pyramid, along with the tax receipts that will be generated, far outweigh any negative perceptions,'' said Herenton, a former Golden Gloves fighter.
The fight is expected to generate millions of dollars in gate receipts and television revenues, and Memphis officials expect full hotels, restaurants and nightclubs fight night and the days leading to it.
Memphis struggled for years to attract big-time sports and those efforts paid off last year when the National Basketball Association's Grizzlies moved to town -- a year after the XFL collapsed, taking a Memphis team with it. The Grizzlies play at The Pyramid while a new arena is under construction.
Herenton said his staff was working on fight security, transportation and other logistics. He was not sure how much the fight would cost the city.
Lewis and Tyson are expected to train 30 miles south of Memphis at Tunica County, Miss., casino hotels. Memphis' proximity to Tunica's 10 riverboat casinos was considered a major part of the city's bid.
The Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau says the region has nearly 20,000 hotel rooms in Memphis and Shelby County, and more than 6,000 in Tunica County.
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