Boxing: Lewis names his price but shock return looks unlikely
Monday 24 November 2008
Lennox Lewis has finally put a price of £70m on his return to the ring – a figure so high that there is little chance of the former world champion ending his comfortable exile to trade punches ever again.
Lewis, 43, last fought in June 2003. He was trailing on points but on the verge of a stoppage against Vitali Klitschko when the Ukraine fighter's face split open. The fight was stopped in the sixth, Lewis retained his world heavyweight titles, Klitschko needed 120 stitches and in January 2004 Lewis retired.
"It is not and it has never been about the money," insisted Lewis. "I've had big offers again and again since the first day that I retired and I always say 'No'. It is about respect and the glory. I have nothing to prove."
All of the present ridiculous rumours started last month when Klitschko returned after a forced absence of four years to win the World Boxing Council heavyweight title. Klitschko immediately claimed that he had unfinished business with Lewis and then hinted that Lewis had made him some kind of promise.
However, it seems that the secret life of Lewis will continue away from the limelight with the boxer moving between homes in Miami and Ontario and making the occasional appearance at a fight as a summariser for Home Box Office.
Lewis told Klitschko to concentrate on other boxers rather than him. "Tell him to stop dreaming about me. It is not a dream: it happened. Those cuts that he suffered were due to my punches. He caught me at the end of my career and now he wants me after six years of retirement. He should try to work and get his own glory."
The sport's most lucrative fight was 2007's Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Oscar De La Hoya meeting in Las Vegas, which generated $120m (£80m) in pay-per-view sales but for any promoter to make cash sense of a Lewis comeback the figures would have to be double that.
Manny Steward, the veteran and mercenary trainer, who was in Lewis's corner for his last fight, said that he wanted Lewis to return. "I think he should get back in with Vitali and finish their fight," Steward said.
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