Kristen Baldwin and Bill Higgins
July 11, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Even before the Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield ear-biting fracas sent crowds into a frenzy, security was tight at the prefight party hosted by Showtime CEO Matt Blank at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Hotel. The stars were greeted by a metal detector as they exited their limos, but that didn’t dampen their anticipation. ”I love boxing. This isn’t my first fight,” said Madonna, who caught up with old gal pal Ingrid Casares. Meanwhile, newly dubbed talk-show host Roseanne, who sat next to John F. Kennedy Jr. during the bout’s three rounds, explained her pugilism passion: ”Boxing is working-class chess. It’s all strategy, but it’s physical.” Courtney Love, who came with rumored squeeze Edward Norton (defying reports that the pair split), was less effusive. ”I had a crappy room and a choice between this and the OzzFest,” she said, referring to Ozzy Osbourne’s Vegas concert. Still, Love enjoyed the undercard bout between female boxers Christy Martin and Andrea DeShong (Martin won by TKO in the seventh). Comedian Richard Lewis also had women on his mind. ”This is the worst place on earth to look for a wife,” he said of the testosterone-heavy crowd. But it turned out to be a great place to find an ear.

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