In what was disappointing news for Irish fight fans, middleweight Andy Lee (27-1, 19 KOs) announced last week that he was pulling out his co-feature fight on the undercard of the Sergio Martinez/Matthew Macklin undercard at the Theater in Madison Square Garden.
"I am very frustrated not to be fighting at the Garden on March 17," Lee told the Irish Voice on Sunday.
The Limerick native did not make this decision lightly, and knows that it has impacted some fight fans who were looking forward to seeing him in action.
"A lot of people had bought tickets and booked flights, and I am very disappointed for them," he added.
"I wanted the fight with Martinez. I felt it should have been me fighting him."
Lee's promoter Lou DiBella, who also promotes Martinez and Macklin, knew that Lee felt he was ready to step up.
"I knew that Andy wanted a bigger fight. The issue was the opponents we liked that could elevate Andy weren't accepting the fight," he told the Irish Voice on Saturday night.
"HBO wanted an extremely high risk fight, and it didn't make any sense, and then the possibility of Felix Sturm emerged and that is worth pursuing."
Sturm, the WBA middleweight champ, has April 13 booked for a fight in Germany. Lee told the Irish Voice on Sunday that no formal talks had taken place, but that it was certainly something he would consider.
DiBella also hopes that his fighter gets the opportunity to take on the German.
"Frankly, look what it (the Sturm fight) did to Macklin and Murray and neither emerged with a ‘w,’" he said referring to the fact that is was Macklin’s performance against Sturm that made HBO favor him over Lee to fight Martinez on St. Patrick’s Day.
A super middleweight clash between Edwin Rodriguez (20-0, 14 KOs) and Donovan George (22-1-1) will replace the Lee fight as the televised co-feature on the night.
Speaking of Macklin, the Irishman from Birmingham was at the Roseland Ballroom on Saturday night doing color commentary for the Monaghan fight and looked in good shape.
Before the bout he was introduced to the crowd, and for some reason received a rather poor welcome. Here’s hoping that New York fight fans will give him a better reception next time.