MICHAEL Hunter will not be boxing on the big Hartlepool show at the end of the month.
And the man who guided him to British, Commonwealth and European championship glory believes boxing fans may have seen the last of the town legend.
The 34-year-old had been due to support Neil Fannan and Dave Garside team-mate Martin Ward, who is the headline act at the Borough Hall on Sunday, September 30, when he fights Jason “Too Smooth” Booth.
But trainer Fannan admits Hunter’s days could be over – and he has no complaints.
“I am half pleased to tell the truth,” he said.
“I think he has done well to come back and have one (bout).”
Hunter returned to the ring in March when professional boxing was staged at the famous Headland venue for the first time since he challenged for the vacant IBF World super-bantamweight title against Canada’s Steve Molitor in November 2006.
It proved an exciting and emotional day as Hunter beat Sid Razak in his first bout in over two and a half years.
There were hopes of more appearances but none have materialised and his tear-up with Razak was his 30th – and potentially final – victory.
“This was the third show he could have fought on,” Fannan told SportMail.
“But the bottom line is his motivation has dropped away.
“I can really understand why.
“He’s a man who has been there and done it at the very top level.
“He is in double figures for major fights, has won the British and Commonwealth titles and was unbeaten as European champion.
“When you have done what Michael has done it is hard to motivate yourself for four and six rounders.
“He needs big fights, fights where there is a bit of a fear factor.
“Michael know he was welcome to box on every show we put on but it has not happened.
“Obviously, I’m very proud of him and all he’s achieved but I am also happy with how it has turned out – he has come back and won and looked pretty good.
“He’s had that buzz back again and while I would never write him off I do think he’ll realise it’s not there.
“When the motivation is not there it’s hard.”
However, the show will, as the saying goes, go on.
“It’s going to be a great day,” said Fannan. “Martin’s fighting for the English championship and Gary Fox is going for the Northern Area title in a re-match against Neil Hepper.
“Young Copey’s on and a few others so we’re looking forward to it.”
For ticket info, call Neil on 07891 101399.