Irish middleweight Andy Lee (21-1, 15 KOs) beat Mamadou Thiam (43-9, 43 KOs) at the University Arena in Limerick on Saturday night when the French fighter retired at the end of the second round due to a back injury.
“To win is always good, but I know it would have been good for people if they had seen a better fight,” Lee told IrishCentral from Limerick on Monday.
Lee looked sharp during the six minutes of action, moving excellently and timing his shots to perfection.
“It was a decent fight while it lasted, and he was dangerous. He said he got injured and he had to pull out, and no disrespect to him, but I think he realized he was going to get beaten and he was going to take a lot of punishment. I was going to knock him out sooner or later, so he took the easy way out,” said Lee.
The 38-year-old French fighter stumbled three times in the first round, which in retrospect could have been due to the back injury he sustained early in the bout, and posed no threat whatsoever to Lee.
Lee used the left hook well and moved out of danger every time, and bar one close right hand from Thiam in the final seconds of round two, was in complete control.
“That is what we worked on, and I knew that was the best way to fight him with his style. I fought to my strengths and used my ability to beat him,” said Lee.
RTE’s Marty Morrissey was emcee for the night and delivered an epic introduction -- epic in the sense of far too long! The caller droned on and on before the crowd got to see the men fight.
Lee noticed that his opponent was not staying warm during the Morrissey lecture.
“The guy wasn’t warming up. I was staying warm for the anthems and the introduction and everything, and he was just standing there getting cold,” said Lee.
“He was in the ring before me for a little while, and he was just cold,” added Lee, stating that if Thiam did indeed injure himself, it may have been because he did not warm up properly.
In the post fight interviews, a possible tilt at Darren Barker’s European middleweight title in the fall was mentioned. Lee says it is a deal that Irish promoter Brian Peters might be able to make with Barker’s promoter Mick Hennessy (Lee is not the mandatory challenger, so it would take a decent purse to convince the champ to come to Limerick), but he is not averse to staying in action on this side of the Atlantic.
“If it happens I would be happy about it, but I am not going to hold my breath and wait around for it. Hopefully, I will get back to the States and get back fighting around July time and keep my career moving forward,” Lee said.
Though Lee has a good working relationship with Peters, he is not signed with any promoter in America.
“I would like to sign with a promoter and make a run for a title, but Emanuel (Steward, Lee’s trainer and manager) is in charge of my career, and he has to make sure it is the right deal for me. So I will leave it to him and we will be speaking in the next few days,” he said.
In an interesting aside, Steward told "On the Ropes Boxing Radio" Monday that he was having a meeting this week that could pave the way for a big fight for Lee.
“I have a meeting this week with someone related to a possible (world) title fight in the next six months,” said Steward.
In the same interview, Steward said that he would welcome a fight with the winner of Julio Chavez/John Duddy in June, adding he would consider any of those two an “easy fight for Andy.”
Lee will take some time off in Limerick and then head back to New York at the end of the month to stay in shape for his next bout, which could, as he said himself, be as soon as July.
In other news, Maureen Shea (14-2, 3 KOs) won on Friday night at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx when she TKO’ed Norma Faris (3-3) in the third round of their fight.
Finally, John Duddy (29-1, 18 KOs) has headed off to the Poconos for training camp ahead of his June 26 fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in San Antonio.