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.