Irish middleweight boxer Andy Lee, speaking on Newstalk Sport Saturday, has called out compatriot Matthew Macklin for what could prove to be one of the biggest fights in recent Irish boxing history, and a make or break bout for both fighters.
Lee views the fight as a critical moment in both fighters’ careers, telling host Ger Gilroy- “A win for either of us would propel us to a world title fight again” and predicted “whoever wins the fight will go on and whoever loses the fight will have to either pack it in or start again.”
Lee is confident Macklin is the best fight for his career, saying, “that’s the fight I’d like, maybe in Ireland or in New York, either place, but that’s definitely the fight I want…It’s been on the cards for a long time and why not? We’re fighters, why not fight each other?”
During the interview, which is available to listen to in its entirety on Newstalk.ie/sport, Lee discussed his new training arrangements in the wake of the death of former trainer, Emmanuel Steward. The London born fighter has now left Detroit to train and live in London, working under the guidance of Adam Booth, best known for his work with David Haye. Lee lived in Detroit for seven years, training at Steward’s world renowned Kronk gym, but has been training in London, with Booth, since August.
During the interview Lee went into detail on the reasons for his move to London and selecting Booth. He admitted he “got into a comfort zone in Detroit” and he feels his move to London will challenge him to improve. “The training Im doing right now, without a fight lined up, is almost harder than any of the training I’d done in the last 5 or 6 years…Most of the training [in Detroit] was centered around sparring, you’d box, you’d spar your way into shape and that’s a good way but that was really the old school way of training” Lee sounded satisfied and optimistic with his new set-up and training, citing Adam Booth’s sport science background as a crucial advantage. “Now we’re doing specific strength and conditioning…more advanced, more up to date”. Lee likened the new training regime to his days with the Irish high performance programme, which he trained under as an amateur.
Lee lost his last bout, and his first world title shot, by way of a seventh round stoppage at the hands of WBC middleweight title holder, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Macklin has had two world title attempts, losing in a controversial split decision to German Felix Sturm, in Germany, and then being retired on his stool in the eleventh round of his Madison square garden fight with Argentinian Sergio Martinez, on St. Patrick’s day last year. Both fighters will now be looking for a high profile fight to move them back to the level of world title contender.
Lee also spoke with a tender honesty about his emotions surrounding the loss of Steward, who was both a friend and trainer to him. He recounted the memorial service, held in Detroit on Tuesday, which lasted five hours as some of boxing’s most respected names spoke about Steward. Lee admitted that he felt a great debt to Steward, saying “I’ll always be grateful for everything he did for me…I got to live my dream just through being with him, being associated with him.”