ONLY subscribers to Sky Digital could watch the Lennox Lewis v David Tua fight live and they had to fork out an extra £11.95 for the privilege.

As I refuse to have something resembling a wok on my house, deplore the idea of pay-per-view, and have long considered professional boxing a discredited sport, it should come as no surprise that I didn't see the fight.

I was intrigued, however, by Tua - because of his hairstyle, because he's Inga Tuigamala'a cousin, and because he dismissed his seven-inch height disadvantage by saying: "It's like dating a taller woman. When you go to bed you're the same size."

Such a bizarre observation can only be the product of a fertile mind, and now that he's had his 12 rounds of fame let's hope Tua isn't tempted to have his brains scrambled in any more one-sided contests.

Female admirers in Samoa, where they declared a national holiday and could watch the fight for free, will be hoping Tua is rather less impotent in other areas than he apparently was against Lewis.

The undisputed champion, meanwhile, is left with no-one to fight, although the clamour for a meeting with Mike Tyson will become as unbearable as the beast himself.

It is said the fight would bring in $60m in pay-per-view revenue alone, so the claws will be out as the fat cats scrap over the rights.

Lewis made £4m from the Tua fight and he should get out with his dignity, and his mind, intact. If he feels the need to prove conclusively he is the best of his generation by fighting someone who would threaten to tear out his children's hearts, he should resist it.

SOMEONE else who could retire tomorrow is Tiger Woods, and he's only 24. He has earned more than £6m from prizemoney alone this year, and probably four times as much from other sources, so he didn't have to turn up to give an exhibition in Hyde Park on Monday just for the appearance money. No-one could be that greedy.

Hopefully, Tiger genuinely sees himself as an ambassador for black youngsters in a white-dominated sport.

It is in danger of being a Tiger-dominated sport, so it was no bad thing that a lesser-spotted Canadian named Mike Reid should win at Valderrama on Sunday.

The tournament was one of four World Golf Championship events, but 12 of Tiger's fellow Americans didn't bother to show up because they have already made far more money than they need just for languishing in his slipstream.

It also says a lot for Tiger that he's willing to keep tackling a course where his perfect approaches to the 17th green keep spinning back into the lake.

Perhaps money does have something to do with it. The event was sponsored by American Express, who paid Tiger a bob or two to spend four days at Valderrama followed by a quick visit to Hyde Park before heading for Bangkok.

A small rain forest must have been destroyed to produce the newsprint devoted to Tiger's exhibition on the banks of the Serpentine.

But for what purpose? It was a classic case of a company shelling out a massive amount on a megastar for promotional purposes, only to find he gets all the publicity and they barely get a mention.

So, just in case you're remotely interested, Tiger was supposed to be promoting the launch of a new American Express card. I wonder what his credit limit is.

CAN it really be true that Arsenal took their own sheets to the Ukraine last week because of the fear of bed bugs? No wonder there are so few players of real steel around when they lead such a pampered existence.

Apparently Leeds' Alan Smith was too shattered to play for England this week, so we can safely assume we can't rely on him to lay down his life for his country in future.

Has Tord Grip made a note of this? If he doesn't come up to scratch the headline writers are going to have a field day with Sven Goran Eriksson's right-hand man.

In fact, we had a "Losing his Grip" from one tabloid when he had been in the country only three days. This was based on the fact that he went to watch Chelsea v Leeds on Sunday, featuring only Smith from the England squad, instead of running the rule over Liverpool's six aspiring internationals at Anfield.

Apparently it was more convenient because he was on his way to England's training base in Buckinghamshire. But that's still no excuse for watching the shirt-pulling League of Nations outfit at Stamford Bridge.

THANK goodness the Jesters had the last laugh. The Newcastle ice hockey outfit reached their first Benson and Hedges Cup final by beating London Knights, but only after enduring an absolute farce.

It was far from a laughing matter for the Jesters, and several hundred fans, when they travelled to London on Saturday to be told the arena hadn't been prepared properly after a Disney On Ice show.

Sounds like another Mickey Mouse operation. Set alongside the Millennium Dome, Chelsea FC and a Tiger in Hyde Park, it reminds us we're far better off in the North-East.