Anthony Joshua drew the curtains on one of heavyweight boxing's greatest careers when he knocked out Wladimir Klitschko under the Wembley arch in April.
Many thought such a difficult fight came too early for Joshua and those worries reached a fever pitch when the Brit had to claw himself from the canvas in the sixth round.
After three rounds of pure survival, he eventually found his way back into the night before a notorious uppercut ignited a brutal 11th round stoppage.
Defeat derailed the comeback trail for Dr. Steelhammer who was still reeling from Tyson Fury's masterclass against him in 2015.
And for a man boasting one of the most formidable records in heavyweight history as well as one of the longest reigns at the top, few expected him to hang up his gloves on the back of two losses.
Furthermore, rumours were rife of a rematch with Joshua and Las Vegas was proposed as the venue.
On August 3rd, however, he announced: “I deliberately took a few weeks to make my decision, to make sure I had enough distance from the fight at Wembley Stadium.
“As an amateur and a professional boxer, I have achieved everything I dreamed of, and now I want to start my second career after sports.”
As revealed in a new interview with the IB Times, proceedings nearly took a very different trajectory.
In fact, Klitschko had two messages planned out for the day of his announcement - one declaring his retirement and the other setting out plans for his return to the ring.
He explained: "It was the most difficult decision.
"But I am so happy. You couldn't know about it before [whether you will be happy with your decision], you know about it later on when your decision is made, a couple of months after whether it was right or wrong.
"I would say it was right. I did maybe an illogical thing.
"But I stepped out on my terms. Not any else's. But my terms. I think my stock went up, not down. And I was surprised that was possible."
Klitschko even revealed the exact, alternate message he had ready and waiting in his notes.
"I love boxing. I love its fans, its challenges and life chances so much. Klitschko vs Joshua 2 is on. I'll see you at ringside."
Just imagine the reaction had Klitschko posted his online...
In the end, though, the allure of retirement was just too strong and Joshua has continued his rampageous rise through the sport.
Carlos Takam was dispatched in October with the prospect of unification bouts and Tyson Fury as 2018 approaches.
Who do you think would have won Klitschko-Joshua 2? Have your say in the comments section below.
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