Since everyone is talking about it
Lennox Lewis yesterday said he would not be returning to the ring, ending a weekend of speculation that he is planning to make a comeback at the age of 42 to face the Ukrainian Vitali Klitschko later this year. Lewis issued a statement following a newspaper report on Saturday which claimed the former world heavyweight champion could pick up £15 million by fighting in the autumn, possibly at the new Wembley Stadium.
"Although I'm flattered that the boxing community is eager to have me back in the ring, I have no plans to return," Lewis said on his own website. "I have no idea how these rumours get started, but I'm a man of my word - I will remain retired. I'm happy with my life and I don't need to chase a big payday.
"I'm enjoying commentating for HBO [the US subscription cable channel] and I'm keeping busy with business ventures and fatherhood. I'm proud of what I accomplished as champion and confident that my legacy will remain intact."
Lewis has not fought since June 2003, when he faced Klitschko in Los Angeles. He won the fight, subsequently retiring as champion, when Klitschko was stopped because of cuts to his face that required 67 stitches and plastic surgery. Klitschko, 36, went on to be named as the WBC heavyweight champion, after Lewis retired, and made two defences before retiring with a serious knee injury. But Klitschko's recent announcement that he will return to challenge the current WBC champion Oleg Maskaev later this year has prompted the idea of an offer for Lewis to also stage a big money comeback.
The promoter Frank Warren denied he had been approached by the veteran American promoter Bob Arum to assist in staging an event at Wembley and said: "What is more, I think Lennox would be making a big mistake in trying to make any sort of comeback."
Arum had been quoted as saying: "Lennox has been discussing the prospect of a one-off world title re-match with Klitschko. I am told Lennox is back in the gym. This is an enormous fight in the making." But Klitschko's team have denied they have held meetings about the possibility of the contest taking place. Lewis has promised his mother and wife, both named Violet, that he will never fight again. It now seems that even the prospect of a £15 million pay cheque will not be enough to change his mind.