In the eyes of Andy Lee he says that he believes that his winning streak at Madison Square Garden will help him overcome his opponent this Saturday as the former world champion faces his first fight in sixteen months on Saturday.
Heading into his 39th pro bout in his Career, Lee takes on American LeAndrae Leatherwood over eight rounds in a middleweight support fight to the world title clash between champion Gennady Golovkin and challenger Daniel Jacobs on Saturday night. Michael Conlan’s debut fight will be on tomorrow night Friday at the same venue’s Theater.
“It’s important that I look good and hopefully I get a knockout, which I’ve nearly always managed to do at Madison,” said Lee ahead of his fourth bout at MSG, the former champion said having gone 3-0 at the Garden.
That run includes two impressive highlight-reel knockouts over the brilliant Carl Daniels and John Jackson, and he believes that experience will stand to him in contrast to Leatherwood’s lack of big fight nights agaimst top opponents like Lee has had in his career. Leatherwood has a 19-3-1 CV, where as Lee has won 28 fights and lost three in his career so far. The rest were draws.
“I mean it’ll be his first time fighting in a big arena,” said Lee. “I’ve seen some of his fights on YouTube and they look like they’re in high school halls or basketball halls on small shows.
“Maybe that’ll be a disadvantage to him, but I’m well used to it,” added the former world champion, who has been training at Mendez’s Gym near the site of the original Madison Square Garden on East 26th Street and Madison Avenue as he prepares for his return to the ring.
Lee has been resting up as in New York bad weather and Blizzards has caused his to stay in instead of going out during is rest periods.
“Usually when you’re in New York, you kind of feel obligated to get up and go out, not sightseeing, but have a look around, whereas now I’m just staying in the room and resting.”
However, Lee has maintained his training, working out with his old Kronk Gym colleague Sugar Hill at Mendez’s ahead of the arrival of trainer Adam Booth.
“I like these few days, it kind of sharpens the mind,” said Lee. “Up to this point you know the fight is happening, but these few days kind of help me put together a more definite gameplan.
“The last couple of days I’ve spent a bit more time watching videos (of Leatherwood’s fights) and just rehearsing it mentally to see what I can do to him to win the fight,” added the Limerick man.
From Castleconnell, Lee lost his WBO world crown in that Manchester fight and he clearly has eyes on another title tilt.
He was praised by his then opponent Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, during the pre-fight press conference.
The K2 promoter commended the Limerick man’s eagerness to fight Golovkin as the pair were due to meet in 2014 before Kazakh world champion’s father passed away, which resulted in the bout being cancelled.
“He’s one of the few middleweights who agreed to fight against Gennady and the fight unfortunately didn’t happen because Gennady’s father passed away, but we give Andy a tremendous amount of respect for that,” said Loeffler, which will boost Lee’s hopes of a showdown with the champion should both men win this weekend.
In a press conference ahead of fight on Saturday Lee said “To fight at Madison on St Patrick’s weekend, it’s an honour and a thrill… I’ve had some great results here,”.
“I feel really sharp… I’ve been champion before and my goal is to regain my title, a good win on Saturday is the first step in doing that.”
Its a dream come true for Andy to fight in a venue where the great Mohammad Ali fought before him. We can only wish him the best of luck.