Andy Lee is set to make his return to the ring February 9th against journeyman fighter Anthony Fitzgerald. It has been 8 months since we last saw Andy in the ring, losing to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 7 rounds in his first shot at a title belt, and sadly it was not the only loss he suffered, having also lost his trainer and friend Emanuel Steward in October, at the age of 68. Andy, now 28, has started his road back to contention and took some time out to speak with me about where he is now in life and about his future in the sport. Andy also discussed his defeat to Chavez Jr, and what he believes he's learned from the loss and what he thinks of the current landscape at middleweight. Here is what Andy had to say.
Jenna Jay: Andy you face off against Anthony Fitzgerald February 9th , what do you think of this matchup?
Andy Lee: Good
fighter, not a bad fighter, he’s better than his record. Definitely
very game, comes to have a go. He was calling me out, trying to get his
name in the papers and he was mentioning my name quite a lot. I’m sure
it’s a big opportunity for him, it’s an important fight to me. It’s my
first fight since losing to (Julio Cesar) Chavez (Jr), so I’m looking to
impress my new trainer. First fight for me with my new trainer, and
obviously I’m looking to get back up the rankings.
mentioned you have a new trainer, obviously, it was very sad for
everyone in boxing when we lost Emanuel Steward. With you having worked
with Steward for so long, what was the hardest part for you?
was a tough time obviously as me him were very close and the full
gravity of everything that happened still has not sunk in yet. Sad time,
and it was kind of a shock for me and for everybody that he was so
unwell and it was a quick time me finding out he was sick and him
passing away, it was only a short period of time. But I was lucky cause I
got to spend some time with him and be there with him, so in a way I
got a chance not to say goodbye, but be there with him when he was
unwell so that kind of helped me. A lot of people they did not get that
and thought he was going to live, even though he was sick. It was tough
on me and tough on his family. Emanuel lived a good life and he had
everything he wanted, and I know he is looking down on us all now and
would want me to be fighting and go on to win a world title hopefully.
Jenna: Can you tell the fans about the trainer you are working with now and how it is working out for you?
training with Adam Booth, he’s an excellent trainer, excellent coach.
He’s a very smart guy. He knows exactly what he wants from his fighters.
He always impressed me when I watched him do corner work or any
training, and he was the first one to approach to train me. We trained
together, and we tried it out for a month or so, we got on well and I
liked what he was trying to teach me. We’ve been training for a couple
of months and things are coming together. He’s a different style of
trainer, with different stuff he’s been teaching me, it’s taking a
little bit of adjustment. I’ve been with Emanuel for 7 years fought in
the Kronk style of fighting and this is a bit different. It’s more
defensive, with more movement from the waist, head movement. It’s a lot
more based around the science behind it, and the conditioning. Adam has a
background in sports physiology, he’s an educated guy, and a smart
boxing guy as well. He fought himself when he was younger. I’m happy
with the training, it’s been a new, refreshing start for me. It would
have been too hard to go back to Detroit with Manny not being there,
with all the memories tied up. It was a good move to come here, it’s
close to home – it’s close to Ireland, being in England, there’s some
big fights this way with the middleweights. It’s quite lively, there’s
some good middleweights. We’ll take one fight at a time.
to me about your last fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. In the fight,
early on, it seemed like your style was going to give JCC Jr some
issues, and as the fight went on, it seemed like you were drawn into
fighting his fight, and eventually you got stopped. Can you tell me your
thoughts about this fight, and if you have any regrets on the way that
it was a tough fight. It’s easy to look back and say you should have
done this or that, but when you’re in there, you have to make your
decisions and stick with them. I won the early rounds, but it was a very
small ring, I didn’t have the room to move around and he was closing
the distance and cutting off the ring. He was heavier than me, and I
couldn’t hold him off, I was punching but he was rocking good punches
and he was just wearing me down. At one point, I don’t know what round, I
thought I’m going to have to stand and fight here and get some respect,
because the way the fight was going, I felt like I was losing control
of the fight. It was back and forth but he came out on top. Of course
you wish you could do things differently, but all I can do is learn from
it and move on, and hopefully come again.
Jenna: Emanuel Steward made a very big thing about the weight in that fight,
with you being in the ring with him, do you think anything unnatural was
going on with Chavez Jr, or do you just think he was a very big
Lee: I don’t
really want to go into that anymore, because like I said at the time
it’s not going to change anything. Everyone knows the rumours and
suspicions. I don’t want to sound like sour grapes, he beat me on the
night and that’s all there is to it.
Jenna: Talking about middleweight, there’s a lot of guys out there you’d be favourite against. Anyone you have your eye on?
really, obviously all I’m thinking on is improving myself as a fighter. I
fought Chavez and I wasn’t good enough. My first attempt at a world
title fight and I wasn’t good enough, I need to improve and win my next
fight. Then we can see the champions that are there, I’ll be right up
always say that boxing styles make fights, and although Chavez Jr didn’t
have a boxing style that suited you, and worked against you. Emanuel
Steward always believed that you could have a very good chance and
beating Sergio Martinez, with your style. If you’re able to win a few
fights, can you see yourself taking the middleweight championship of the
always did say that and I believe that a tall fighter that jabs well
could give him trouble. Martinez is by far the best fighter in the
division and maybe Golovkin, they are the two best and I'm miles away
from that, so I’m just looking to regroup and grow in strength and
confidence again before I can even think of challenging those guys.
Jenna: You’re 28 right now, do you feel that another loss at this point in
your career would end any chance you have of getting another title shot?
well I don’t think it’s another loss, but depending on to who the loss
might be. I definitely can’t afford to lose my next fight, Fitzgerald,
he has no business being in the ring really, but I have to beat the guys
put in front of me and that’s all I can do. I can’t afford to lose this
Jenna: For your next fight, what do you feel is the most important thing to come away with on the night?
Lee: Not to
be disrespectful to him, but I’m a better fighter than he is. Anyone who
has watched the film of the two of us will know I’m the better fighter.
He’s very game, and he won’t be overawed by the occasion, but I feel
like I could probably have a fight and trade punches and maybe take him
out of there in 3 rounds. But I think I’m going to use this fight to
showcase my boxing ability, and some of the things I’ve been working on
with Adam. If I hurt him out, then I’ll go for a stoppage. But I think
it’s important that I show that I’m a class above this guy, and work on
some of the things I’ve been working on.
Jenna: Do you have anything to say to your fans?
you all, keep supporting me. It’s been a while since the Chavez fight,
but I’ve been training and rededicated myself. Hopefully you’ll see some
changes in my next fight, and more changes that Adam has implemented in
my game and I’ll look forward to seeing you again whenever that might
Special thanks goes out to Jay from Checkhookboxing.com for helping to bring this article to the boxing readers.