12 March 2011 – Paddy Cronan
Earlier this week I caught up with legendary boxing trainer, Emanuel Steward on the world’s number one boxing podcast, ONTHEGRiND BOXiNG (listen at WWW.ONTHEGRiNDBOXiNG.COM)
Several weeks prior, I asked Andy Lee for his prediction for Saturday’s battle against Craig McEwan, but he was reluctant to go on record. Steward however, was not so coy as he was happy to make his prediction a matter of public record.
It might go past six rounds,” said Steward. “Andy, I feel is too accurate with his punches, too seasoned as a professional fighter. His confidence has grown from the years of not only having a stellar amateur career, which he concluded by beating a Cuban fighter in his final amateur fight before turning professional. Hes also been to the Olympics, hes been in training camps with me, Wladamir Klitschko, Jermain Taylor and the other top fighters Ive worked with for the last five years. His experience in a lot of the good training camps as well as the pedigree of his amateur background would mean that hes on a different level and a different class than McEwan is at this stage. Andy is too much of a more seasoned professional fighter in terms of the placement of his punches and hes pacing himself now. With his accuracy he will knock out Craig in the second half of the fight, concluded Steward.
Steward resisted the temptation to sign Lee with a promoter for five years. Top Rank and Golden Boy were both options for the Castleconnell man, however he signed with the likable New Yorker Lou Di Bella.
Lou is in New York working very hard trying to get fights,” remarked Steward. “I think that he will do a good job because I like his work ethic. He worked so hard in making this fight come off even though Andy had several fights fall through. He consistently did work to make sure Andy fought on this card. I dont think he has that many superstar fighters, which means he will spend more time with Andy and do a better job than Golden Boy with the stable they have right now…and Top Rank are overloaded with a lot of other big names. I think hell do a great job. The biggest name hes got is Martinez. That also means it might make it a little easier to make the fight for the Middleweight Championship of the World between the two. I feel comfortable that Lou will do a good job with Andy.
Late last year Lee had a run of four fights in the space of five months. Steward explained the reasoning behind the choice to stay active.
Andys been very busy, as world class fighters go he’s probably been the busiest middleweight,” assessed Steward. “I have to give him a lot of credit for that. He said he wanted to stay busy fighting regular, and he didnt care what the purses were. He fought for $5000, and he didnt care which is very unusual today, especially when some of these fighters have to have $50,000. A couple of the guys he fought were pretty durable. I think thats been a big factor in having him be where he should be when he gets his opportunity with McEwan.
Over the last few years Lee has fought in Ireland regularly. I asked Steward if signing with a big American promoter will put a stop to Lee fighting at home.
I am very concerned about that [Lee fighting in Limerick],” affirmed Steward. “When I made the deal with Lou it was one of my biggest concerns. He must always have at least one fight in Limerick, even as a World Champion. I love the support of the Limerick fans, they have been there when he had his loss and he was rebuilding his career. Most of that was done right there with the Irish fans supporting him. I think Andy will be fighting in Ireland again before the fall if things go well March 12, unless he’s fighting a Middleweight Championship fight.
The ONTHEGRiND BOXiNG podcast goes live twice each week at 1 a.m. on Mondays and Fridays. Listen live or catch the reply at ONTHEGRiNDBOXiNG.com.