World welterweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard yesterday repudiated a statement by his trainer, Janks Morton, that he has decided to return to boxing after recovering from eye surgery.
"To set the record straight, there has been no decision on my part as to resuming my boxing career," Leonard said in a prepared statement issued through spokesman Charles Brotman.
"No announcement will be made until my eye is completely healed, which should be several months from now."
Thursday night in Phoenix, Morton told the Arizona Republic there is "no question" that Leonard will fight again. "We won't do anything until the last part of December, and then we'll begin to work out lightly," Morton said.
Morton said the layoff should not impair Leonard's boxing ability. He said Leonard would return to the ring because he wants to become middleweight champion, not for the money.
In yesterday's statement, Leonard, who is recuperating at his home in Mitchellville, said, "My eye is healing just fine. But any announcement about boxing is much too premature . . . when an announcement is made, I will personally make it."
Leonard underwent surgery May 10 at Johns Hopkins University Hospital's Wilmer Eye Institute to repair a partially detached retina in his left eye. Although doctors have said the operation appears to have been successful, they say they will not know for months whether Leonard will be able to fight again.