The London tabloid the Sunday Mirror quoted Lewis as saying, “I’m making a comeback later this year. The money is up to 21 million pounds ($39.3 million) right now and I simply can’t turn that much cash down.

“I need the money just like everyone else and it’s just too good to turn down.”

But later Sunday, Lewis released a statement saying he was not making a comeback.

“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,” he said.

Lewis, 39, retired Feb. 6 with a 41-2-1 record. Klitschko assumed the title April 24 when he beat Corrie Sanders.

Lewis and Klitschko last fought in June 2003. Lewis was behind on points when the fight was stopped in the sixth round because Klitschko was cut.

That was Lewis’ last fight and he was booed out of the ring after a poor performance. The WBC mandated a rematch, but Lewis retired instead.