Sat, Oct 12, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Lennox Lewis rules out return to ring

KLITSCHKO NO GO:Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko’s manager, Bernd Boente, rubbished reports that the former world champ was interested in fighting one of the Ukrainians

AFP, LONDON

Lennox Lewis took to Twitter on Thursday to deny a report in Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper that he was considering returning to the ring to fight one of the Klitschko brothers.

It is nearly a decade since British boxer Lewis retired as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

However, the Mail quoted him as saying he would fight one of the Klitschkos, who between them hold all the major versions of the world heavyweight title, if they offered him US$100 million — the biggest purse in boxing history.

However, the 48-year-old Lewis told his Twitter followers: “A hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question does NOT equal reality #NoComeback.”

“I’m not stepping back in the ring but I AM looking for the next crop of new talent!” added Lewis, born in London but who won Olympic super-heavyweight gold boxing for Canada, where he grew up, at the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea.

Earlier the Klitschkos’ manager rubbished reports of a Lewis comeback.

“That’s absurd, it’s garbage. We don’t give something like that any thought,” Bernd Boente told SID, an Agence France-Presse subsidiary, in Berlin.

The Mail reported Lewis, who has resisted several attempts to lure him out of retirement, saying he was offered US$50 million in Moscow last weekend while attending Wladimir Klitschko’s successful defense of his world titles against Alexander Povetkin.

He had previously talked of US$50 million being the required amount to make him contemplate a return to boxing.

However, the Mail quoted Lewis saying: “I said at the time that it will take US$50 million to get me out of my pyjamas, but now I have to consider the value of my legacy of having retired as undisputed champion. That will cost them US$100 million.”

However, for Boente this was all very familiar.

“That isn’t the first time that he [Lewis] has offered to fight for a sum like that. He nearly always says that when he is in Germany as a guest at a Klitschko fight,” he said.

“I saw him in the Moscow in the ring, he is not fit anymore and has a belly. And at 48, he isn’t the youngest any more,” Boente said.

Lewis beat Vitali Klitschko on cuts in Los Angeles in 2003 and a year later retired without having boxed again.

The older of the Ukrainian brothers, the 42-year-old Vitali, who holds the WBC world title and harbors hopes of becoming president of Ukraine, has long wanted a return bout.

Had Lewis been serious about coming back, he would have been older than George Foreman, then aged 48, was when the US boxing great regained the world heavyweight title.

Foreman beat Michael Moorer in 1994 having first been crowned champion in 1973

Wladimir Klitschko, 37, retained his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles with a unanimous points win over Russia’s Povetkin in Moscow last Saturday.

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