Andy Lee: "Emanuel Steward would want me to be fighting and go on to win a world title"
Andy Lee: "Emanuel Steward would want me to be fighting and go on to win a world title"
By Jenna Jay and Michael Harris, OnTheRopes Boxing Radio, Doghouse Boxing (Jan 27, 2013) Doghouse Boxing
Andy Lee
Click to listen to 'On The Ropes 184' with Brandon Rios, Mikey Garcia, Andy Lee, Michelle Rosado and guest host Naazim Richardson
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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.

Jenna: You 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?

Lee: It 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?

Lee: I’m 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.

Jenna: Talk 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 you fought?

Lee: Well, 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 middleweight?

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?

Lee: Not 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 there.

Jenna: They 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 world?

Lee:Emanuel 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?

Lee: Yeah, 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 next fight.

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?

Lee: Thank 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 be.


Special thanks goes out to Jay from for helping to bring this article to the boxing readers.

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