EXCLUSIVE: Lennox Lewis ready to make shock comeback at 48 to fight one of the Klitschko brothers in $100m super fight
By Jeff Powell - dailymail.co.uk
Lewis has been offered $50m to fight one of the Ukrainian brothers
The former undisputed world champion will return for $100m
Briton will be ready to fight in six months
Vitali wants rematch after losing to Lewis in 2003
But 48-year-old would rather face Wladimir
Comeback: Lennox Lewis has said he will fight one of the Klitschko brothers (below) for $100m
Brothers in arms: Wladimir (left) defended his titles on Saturday while Vitali has been concentrating on politics
Lennox Lewis has told Russian promoters that he will come back to fight one of the Klitschko brothers for the biggest purse in boxing history.
The 48-year-old, who is still the most recent undisputed world heavyweight champion, was offered $50million (£31.3m) in Moscow at the weekend while attending Wladimir Klitschko’s successful defence of his world titles against Alexander Povetkin.
Lewis responded by promising to return to the ring for $100m (£62.6m).
The promoters are considering doubling their bid and Lewis says: ‘That is my price tag and it is under discussion. I have told them I can be ready in six months and I am in provisional training.’
Lewis, in London to launch his new training academy for potential world heavyweight champions, is running in Hyde Park each morning.
He reports himself to be ‘already well under 300lb’. He weighed around 245lb in his prime. Lewis believes that in a fight next spring he can surpass big George Foreman, who regained the title at the age of 48, as the oldest world heavyweight champion of all time.
His price for coming out of retirement would give him the biggest pay-note in boxing history.
Scores to settle: Lewis beat Vitali when the fight was stopped in the sixth round due to a serious cut
Upset: Klitschko was ahead on all three judges' scorecards when the fight - Lewis' last - was stopped
Floyd Mayweather holds that record having been guaranteed $41.2million for last month’s super fight with Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez, with his take expected to rise to $70million once all the pay-per-view revenue is accounted for.
Lewis was talking in terms of $50million when he last considered a return to the ring.
Now he says: ‘I said at the time that it will take $50million to get me out of my pyjamas but now I have to consider the value of my legacy of having retired as undisputed champion. That will cost them $100million.’
That figure is clearly achievable in the modern boxing world. It is believed that the Russians are projecting a rematch of the fabled battle between Lewis and Vitali Klitschko in Los Angeles in 2003, which the Englishman won on cuts and a year after which he announced his retirement without having boxed again.
The older of the Klitschko brothers, now 42, who holds the WBC world title, has campaigned consistently for a return bout. And if that were to become his last fight before retiring to seek the presidency of his native Ukraine it would be worth an absolute fortune.
Lewis would prefer to fight Wladimir, 37, saying: ‘I beat Vitali so I would like to fight the other brother but we’ll see how it works out. I want to bring back the Sweet Science to heavyweight boxing.’
He was a more intent observer of Wladmir’s than most imagined while watching from ringside the younger Klitschko’s somewhat criticised victory over Povetkin.
The possibility of facing the holder of all the other heavyweight belts is on the mind of Lewis as he says: ‘In a way this fight confirmed my disappointment with the state of heavyweight boxing right now. The best I could find to challenge Wladimir was a kid who is not fully developed either physically or in terms of experience.
‘People paid a lot of money in expectation of a great fight but Povetkin was not properly prepared for the most important fight of his career.
‘Wladimir should have gone for the knockout after putting him down four times but I think he missed having the late Manny Steward in his corner. Manny would have told him what he told me when I fought Vitali - to go in and finish him.
‘I suspect Wladimir had a problem with his right hand because as the fight went on he didn’t use it that often. But having said that he showed great movement, was very light on his feet and was never in danger of losing.’
Anthony Joshua has sought the advice of Lewis during his transition from Olympic gold medallist at the London Games to his professional debut victory last Saturday and Lewis, a former Olympic champion himself, says: ‘Big Josh has the attributes to go all the way but we will have to see how it works out in his first 10 paid fights. It’s not fair to judge him before that.’
Clearly Lewis is confident that he can beat all the younger pretenders, Tyson Fury and David Haye included, to the richest crown in sport.
As for the future, Lewis intends to be deeply involved. Youngsters of world heavyweight title potential are being invited to submit videos of themselves in action to a website which opens on Monday for registration: www.insearchofchampions.com
The most promising will then be offered a chance to train at one of three camps which Lewis is in the process of setting up in London, Canada and Jamaica.
He says: ‘The training of heavyweights is a specialised business and we will help these young men in all aspects of it, training, management and promoting included.’
Lewis also believes that David Price, with whom he worked briefly before his upsetting rematch with Tony Thompson, can be brought back as a contender ‘as long as he gives me and my team enough time to do the job’.
Lennox Lewis prepared to make comeback in fight with Wladimir Klitschko - but only for $100m
48-year-old Lewis, who was the last man to hold all four belts at heavyweight, has said he would be prepared to fight the younger of the Klitschko brothers but only for the biggest purse in boxing history
Former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis would be happy to make a sensational return to the ring to face IBF, WBA and WBO titlist Wladimir Klitschko - but only for 100million US dollars, the biggest purse in boxing history.
Lewis, who turned 48 last month, last fought professionally over a decade ago, but told the Daily Mail he would be ready to step back into the ring with only six months of training on the condition that he is paid $100m, over double the purse that was guaranteed to Floyd Mayweather in his victory over Saul Alvarez last month.
Lewis says he was offered $50million to end his retirement while he attended Klitschko's uninspiring unanimous decision victory over Alexander Povetkin in Moscow at the weekend, but would need double that to spring into action.
"That is my price tag and it is under discussion," Lewis told the Daily Mail. "I have told them I can be ready in six months and I am in provisional training.
"I said at the time that it will take $50m to get me out of my pyjamas but now I have to consider the value of my legacy of having retired as undisputed champion. That will cost them $100m.'
Lewis had always maintained he had no interest in making a comeback since retiring after beating Klitschko's older brother Vitali in June 2003 in controversial circumstances, retaining his WBC title when the fight was stopped after the sixth round in Los Angeles.
The Ukrainian had a deep cut above his left eye but led on the judges' scorecards when officials ruled he could not continue. In the referee's opinion the cut had been caused by a punch, which meant that Lewis was automatically declared the winner.
A much-hyped rematch never materialised, but Lewis would be more focused on a fight with Wladimir should he decide to return to the ring.
"I beat Vitali so I would like to fight the other brother but we'll see how it works out," he said.
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