Boxing: Lewis takes rest of year off to ponder retirement

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The Independent Online

Lennox Lewis remains undecided on whether to retire, but has confirmed he will not fight again this year.

Britain's heavyweight world champion retained his WBC title in June with a sixth-round win over Vitali Klitschko after the Ukrainian suffered a horrific cut. Lewis recently pulled out of negotiations for a proposed rematch in November and now says he will definitely be out of action for the rest of 2003 at least.

"I haven't decided if I will retire yet," the 37-year-old said. "Nothing is final. But I do know that I am not going to fight this year.

"Maybe next year. If I decide to fight, it won't be a problem for me to get in shape. It will take me less than three months to get ready.

"There's a lot of money involved in a rematch with Vitali, and a rematch with him is definitely something that I would consider," Lewis added. "At least this time I would have more than two weeks to prepare for him. The next time around, I would do even more damage than I did the first time."

Lewis' lawyer, Judd Burstein, had earlier said: "While Lennox has not made a final decision on his retirement, he has decided that he will not fight again this year.

"Having made that decision, he did not think it would be fair to HBO [the television network], potential sites, Vitali Klitschko and, most importantly, the sport of boxing to keep everyone in limbo."

The self-imposed exile from the ring means Lewis will have had just two victories in two years by the time he considers fighting again, his previous bout having been a win over Mike Tyson in June 2002.