• Heavyweight

Lewis eyes $100m Klitschko comeback

ESPN staff
October 10, 2013
Lewis to return?

Lennox Lewis is weighing up a comeback fight against one of the Klitschko brothers for a staggering $100m purse.

Russian promoters offered the 48-year-old half that amount (£31.3m) while he was in Moscow at the weekend for Wladimir Klitschko's successful defence of his world titles against Alexander Povetkin.

But Lewis, the most recent undisputed world heavyweight champion, is only willing to get back in the ring for £62.2m, which would be the biggest purse in boxing history.

The promoters are reportedly considering the offer. Lewis said: "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 is in London launching his new training academy, and reports himself to be "already well under 300lb". In his prime, he was around 245lb. George Foreman regained the title aged 48 as the oldest world heavyweight champion of all time, but Lewis believes he can surpass him.

Floyd Mayweather currently holds the record for the biggest ever payout, having been guaranteed $41.2 million for last month's megafight with Canelo Alvarez. His take is also expected to rise to $70 million once pay-per-view revenue has been factored in.

Lewis had previously considered coming out of retirement for $50 million, but is now setting his sights higher. He added: "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."

The Russians are believed to be big on a rematch between Lewis and Vitali Klitschko. The two famously clashed in Los Angeles in 2003, with Lewis winning on cuts, before the Englishman retired a year later without having boxed again. The elder Klitschko, now 42, holds the WBC world title and has long been keen on the rematch as his last fight before retiring to seek the presidency of Ukraine.

Lewis however prefers a fight with Wladimir, 37, whose victory over Povetkin he watched form ringside. He said: "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.

"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."

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