EVEN BEFORE THE FIRST PUNCH was thrown in the Nov. 9 Las Vegas showdown between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, Hollywood's heavyweights and lesser-weights were bobbing and weaving through Showtime's VIP lounge near the main arena at the MGM Grand Hotel.

"Tyson shouldn't have to fight just one guy," pronounced Christian Slater. "He should fight them one after another." Slater's pre-fight pick proved wrong, of course, like that of most boxing aficionados. Given almost no chance to beat Tyson, Holyfield pounded the WBA champion, stopping him in the 11th round.

As the celebs—including singers Salt-N-Pepa, actors Albert Brooks and Jimmy Smits and supermodels Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista—watched the preliminary bouts on wide-screen TV before going in to see the main event, a few confessed to being only marginal fight fans.

Harrison Ford, who arrived late with producer Wolfgang (Outbreak) Petersen, said, "I don't know a thing about it—he's the big fight fan." But others took it more seriously. Tom Jones pushed back his Hollywood Theater show for an hour and a half so he could watch the mayhem. And Robert (Murphy Brown) Pastorelli displayed his Vegas moves by betting $1,000 on Holyfield and walking off with $8,000.

Most involved—and opinionated—was Roseanne. Earlier in the night, she had climbed into the ring to congratulate female lightweight fighter Christy Martin, who had just stopped palookette Bethany Payne in the first round. Back in the VIP room, Roseanne offered her own formula for livening up the sport: Let men fight women. "The men don't stand a chance," the actress declared. Got a problem with that?