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Lewis resists comeback

January 25, 2005 10:38 IST

Former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis confirmed on Monday he will resist any temptation to take one last big pay day in the ring.

A British newspaper on Sunday quoted the 39-year-old Briton as saying he planned to fight World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Ukrainian Vitali Klitschko this year for up to 21 millions pounds ($39.5 million).

"I boxed professionally for many years and there will always be an attraction to the sport but I am not returning to the ring," Lewis said in a statement.

"The recent attraction given to the possibility of a comeback is flattering and evidences the public's desire for someone to establish a legacy similar to the one I left behind as the true heavyweight

champion of the world."

Lewis retired last year after his final fight with Klitschko in June 2003 was stopped after six rounds because of severe cuts to the Ukrainian.

He became only the third man after Americans Gene Tunney and Rocky Marciano to retire while still world champion.

"I want to reiterate what I said when I retired in February 2004 that I was fortunate to leave the sport on my own terms and that I will be one of the few heavyweight champions in history to retire on top and stay retired," Lewis said.

Klitschko has demanded a rematch with Lewis several times and his manager Bernd Boente told the BBC: "I have talked to Vitali and he's happy to go."

John Mehaffey
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