IT’S six years this month that Limerick’s Andy Lee signed a professional boxing contract and left Castleconnell for Detroit.
As he made the switch from the amateur stable of St Francis Boxing Club to the famed Kronk Gym of Emanuel Steward, the young Limerick man had only one goal.
Twenty eight fights later, a world middleweight title belt remains the dream for the 27-year-old southpaw.
Year after year Lee has edged closer to a world title fight but disappointment has been his lot to date. The former Olympian now feels that 2012 will be his year.
He fights on the undercard of the Sergio Martinez v Matthew Macklin title fight on March 17 in Madison Square Garden and is determined to put down a marker that can’t be overlooked.
Indeed it could be Lee rather than Macklin facing Martinez, but the Limerick man is prepared to wait his turn.
”My plan on March 17 is to go out and put on a really good show, turn the place out - make them demand another title fight for Andy Lee,” he explained last weekend when a guest on Newstalk.
There is no opponent confirmed for the St Patrick’s Day event.
“Every day it’s somebody new: Darren Barker has been offered the fight, Martin Murray’s been offered the fight – Sergio Mora was mentioned. It’s looking like it could be ‘Kid Chocolate’ (Peter Quillin) now who I fight and that’s another situation where I’m fighting a really dangerous fighter who has a lot to gain from fighting me. So I could be forced by HBO, by whoever, to fight him. It’s a fight I can win, but he’s definitely one of the best middleweights so it could be a good scrap,” he said.
Now six years in the pro-game Lee explained the behind-the-scenes match-making involved at the highest level.
“I don’t wanna fight guys younger than me or coming up because why should I give them an opportunity? I’ve worked hard to be here and on any night anybody could win. We’re at that level now where it is only small differences that make winning and losing. But the guys above me don’t want to give me a fight because they have a lot to lose. So I think ultimately it comes down to HBO, the TV in America, they’ll make the final call,” he explained.
“I have the date and I’ll work towards that – the opponent will sort itself out. I have positioned myself nicely in the world ratings as a legitimate world title contender. In boxing what you want, what you deserve and what you get are all different things. Boxing is a business as well as a sport and sometimes things come down to timing and being in the right place at the right time.”