by David P. Greisman
BoxingScene.com: What’s the latest with Andy Lee?
Lee: “I was just speaking to Lou [DiBella]. Chavez turned me down and doesn’t want to fight me. They tried to entertain the idea, but it’s not going to happen, I think. So we’ll see what happens. It looks like I’m going to be fighting March 17 at [Madison Square] Garden, but against who I don’t know yet.”
BoxingScene.com: Who else do you want, if not Chavez?
Lee: “I want Martinez. I want to fight the best. I think I’m ready for it. I think I’ve got the right style to beat him, so I told Lou that. I said ‘I want the fight, so let’s make it happen.’ ”
BoxingScene.com: Why do you think you’re ready for Martinez?
Lee: “I believe I’ve got the style to beat him. A lot of the other guys he’s beaten already have suited him. They’ve followed him around the ring and have walked into his punches. With me, I’ll be there to counter him. I’m too tall. He’s not going to out-box me. Some guy who’s 5-foot-11 is not going to out-box me.”
BoxingScene.com: How frustrating is it that you’re not going to be able to get Chavez?
Lee: “It’s frustrating, but really I’ve not really fully believed the fight would be made until it was signed, because I guess they’re going to protect him. He’s been protected so far. They’re not just going to throw him out there. It would’ve been a good fight. He’s improving all the time. But it’s not to be, I guess.”
BoxingScene.com: When do you think you’ll get Martinez?
Lee: “Well I think it’s between me and Matthew Macklin who gets the fight. It does seem like Matthew’s going to fight him, but it’s not been decided yet. Whether it’s the next fight or the next fight, but if it’s sometime in 2012, I’m ready.”
BoxingScene.com: It seems as if you’ve been on this circuitous path. You were a touted prospect at middleweight, and then you had the loss, but now you’re coming back and are possibly fighting for the championship.
Lee: “I’ve come back stronger. I had the loss. It did set me back, but if I didn’t have had that, I wouldn’t be the fighter I am now and the fighter I can be, you know?”
BoxingScene.com: Would you have ever thought back then that a loss would be good for you?
Lee: “The loss is the worst thing that ever happened to me in my life — but it has made me who I am and what I am. So it’s probably the making of me. It could’ve been the breaking of me, but in the end it was the making of me.”
BoxingScene.com: How did it make you? In what ways are you better now because of it?
Lee: “I’m a lot more solid fighter now. I’m somewhat a more rounded person as well outside of the ring. You know, when I was going through that phase, I was like high up, everything was going right for me, everyone was slapping me on the back. I didn’t have the respect I should’ve had for the game, you know what I mean?
“Brian Vera taught me that lesson, that you’ve got to respect every opponent. So even now I’m working hard. I’ve got no fight lined up. I’ve just come from training camp in Austria, sparring seven, eight rounds a day, sparring Wladimir [Klitschko], sparring Johnathon Banks. … I’m ready to go.”
BoxingScene.com: Anything else you want to say?
Lee: “2012 — Andy Lee’s going to be champion.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org