LONDON (Reuters) - Former world heavyweight champion David Haye has been advised by doctors to consider retiring after undergoing shoulder surgery, the Briton said on Sunday.
Haye underwent five hours of surgery in Germany on Thursday to reconstruct his right shoulder and was advised to think about ending his 11-year professional boxing career.
Haye, 33, had been due to box compatriot Tyson Fury in a rearranged bout on February 8, 2014, in Manchester, but he has canceled the fight for a second time.
The bout had been originally scheduled for September 28 but was called off after Haye cut his left eyebrow in sparring.
“I genuinely believed the shoulder injury wasn’t that bad,” Haye said in a statement on his website (www.hayemaker.com).
”But the doctor sent me for a detailed MRI scan and within 24 hours I was told the full extent of the damage. Twenty-four hours after that I was in the operating theatre.
”It’s a crushing blow for me. I had big plans for next year and the ultimate goal was to win back the world heavyweight title, something my amazing fans deserve.
“What I didn’t anticipate was that this year would be the unluckiest of my career and that a number of injuries would disrupt my plans so much. Perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be. The boxing Gods keep hinting that maybe enough is enough and that it’s time to finally hang up my gloves.”
Haye, who lost his WBA belt in 2011 to Ukrainian Vladimir Klitschko, called off his previous planned fight against Germany’s Manuel Charr in June when he suffered a hand injury.
“The surgery and subsequent results are a bitter pill to swallow because I truly felt I had a lot more to offer and was looking forward to paying back my loyal fans with some great fights in 2014,” he added.
”But I’ve been boxing for 23 years now, amateur and pro, and this has clearly taken its toll on my body.
”I can only offer my sincerest apologies to all those fans who have followed me over the years and, like me, wanted to finish on a real high. This wasn’t how I wanted to end 2013.
“If I‘m now destined to have won the European Championship, the Unified World Cruiserweight Championship and the WBA Heavyweight Championship of the world - with a record of 28 fights, 26 wins, 24 victories coming via knockout and only two defeats - then so be it. I‘m proud of these achievements and consider my boxing career a huge success.”
Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Ed Osmond