Former world champion David Haye has been told to "seriously consider" retiring from boxing by doctors due to a serious shoulder injury.
The 33-year-old Londoner, who won world titles at heavyweight and cruiserweight, has called off his planned bout against Tyson Fury on 8 February and may well have fought for the final time.
Hayemaker Boxing released a statement which read: "David underwent five hours of surgery in Germany on Thursday morning to reconstruct his right shoulder, and has since been told to seriously consider ending his glittering 11-year professional boxing career.
"The operation was to the right subscapularis and bicep tendon attachments, both of which were ruptured."
A crushing blow
Haye added: "I genuinely believed the shoulder injury wasn't that bad.
"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."
But Haye has received little sympathy from planned opponent Fury who, after an initial rant on Twitter, issued a statement on his Team Fury website which read: "I'm absolutely furious but in all honesty this is exactly what I expected.
"Everyone knows I was very suspicious when he pulled out the first time and this confirms to me that he's always been afraid of me and never wanted this fight."
Fury's uncle and trainer Peter Fury also said he was not surprised at the news.
He said: "From the moment Haye postponed in September, it was obvious this fight wasn't going to happen.
"The public have been duped. Tyson will fight someone else in February. We'll get the show back on the road and we're glad we don't have to do business with these people ever again."
Having won the world cruiserweight title in 2007, Haye stepped up to heavyweight and claimed the world title when he beat Nikolai Valuev in November 2009.
However, after a pair of successful defences, he lost his title when he was beaten on points by Wladimir Klitschko in July 2011.
Haye proud of career
After a brief retirement, he returned to beat Dereck Chisora in the summer of 2012, but injuries have led to planned 2013 fights against Manuel Charr and Fury being called off.
Haye added: "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.
"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."