Boxing: Lewis may be set to retire after 10 years at the top
Thursday 05 February 2004
Lennox Lewis has ordered his entire team to fly to London for a press conference tomorrow morning that will finally throw some light on whether or not the heavyweight champion will fight again.
Lewis, 38, has not fought since narrowly escaping with his World Boxing Council heavyweight title last June in a brutal and bloody encounter with Vitali Klitschko and the feeling within the Lewis team is that the boxer is now ready to retire.
The secretive press conference caught many of his entourage by surprise and more than one insider has expressed an opinion that this finally will be the announcement that declares the boxer's love affair with the sport is at an end after 10 years at its peak. "If Lennox was just planning a fight, then he would not have bothered to get everybody together and that is why I think he is ready to quit," claimed one veteran Lewis insider.
Lewis first won a version of the heavyweight title in 1993 and he has taken part in 17 world title fights since that time and has actually lost the title on two occasions only to regain it in spectacular rematches.
Last summer's fight against the towering Ukrainian was seen by many inside the sport as an alarming wake-up call for the ageing champion and there was some suggestion at the time that he would call it a day.
After the narrow escape against Klitschko the WBC told Lewis that he had until 30 January this year to reach a decision on his career but have since extended their deadline to 15 March in what was seen as a mercenary final effort to coax the champion out of semi-retirement and into one more multi-million dollar fight.
At the same time as the WBC was showing Lewis an oddly lenient side the fighter's experienced trainer, Emanuel Steward, claimed that Lewis would take care of Klitschko in two rounds in a rematch. However, Steward's prompting was cancelled out by the wise words of the fighter's mother, Violet, who is alleged to have told her son to stay retired. Klitschko has expressed increasing doubt about a rematch, but has not been critical of Lewis.
During his 15-year career Lewis has suffered only two defeats and both were seen as shocks, but he is perhaps best known for his victory over Frank Bruno in 1993, his controversial draw with Evander Holyfield in 1999 and the spectacular destruction of Mike Tyson in 2002.
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