By Jake Donovan
Mike Lee maintained his perfect record as a pro with a unanimous decision over Jacob Stiers on Friday evening in a big night for his Notre Dame alma mater.
Scores were 38-34 across the board in the evening’s main event at the famed university’s first ever pro boxing card. The night was dedicated to reaching out to a normal of local organizations through the Mike Lee Foundation, making the show so much more than just a boxing event.
That said, it turned out to be a huge learning lesson for Lee, who was dominant for the most part but also suffered a surprise knockdown of his own.
Lee came out determined to make a statement, dropping the Kansas City-based Stiers (4-2, 2KO) midway through the opening round. Stiers took the first of what would be three mandatory eight counts on the evening, each time rising like a champ determined to fight on.
The luck of the Irish would carry on for Lee in the second round, when a series of right hands sent Stiers once again to the canvas. Lee stayed on the attack but was unable to seal the deal, which left a window slightly open for Stiers to make something happen.
He nearly did just that, shocking the partisan crowd on hand by handing Lee the first knockdown of his young career, which came in an action packed third round. A collective gasp of relief was offered when Lee recovered and regained control of the bout.
The threat of a knockdown once again resurfaced when a swarm of punches by Lee sent Stiers down early in the fourth round, for the bout’s fourth knockdown overall. Despite the frequent trips to the canvas, the two light heavyweights found a way to cross the finish line, bringing the crowd to its feet in honor of a worthy debut main event at the Joyce Center on the Notre Dame campus.
Lee improves to 7-0 (4KO) with the win, but never lost sight of what the night truly represented.
“It was an incredible fight. More importantly, you guys (the fans) helped out with two great causes.”
More so than the win, the evening was all about giving back to the community for Lee , who graduated from Notre Dame in 2009 with a 3.8 GPA and a bachelor’s degree in business finance. He had his pick of lucrative careers from which to choose including a Wall Street gig, but opted to instead make a go of it as a pro boxer after leading a stellar amateur career in his Chicago hometown.
Several famous alumni were on hand at ringside, including soon-to-retire talk show host Regis Philbin, who served as guest ring announcer for the main event. Philbin paid tribute to a retired legend in another medium, introducing former Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian to the capacity crowd on hand as a check for $100,000 from the Mike Lee Foundation was donated to coach’s Medical Research Foundation in his name.
A large portion of the evening’s proceeds also went to the Robinson Community Learning Center, which offers an afterschool tutoring and mentoring program for local kids.
The show was streamed live by Top Rank’s website (www.toprank.tv).
Glen Tapia UD6 Marcus Thompkins (60-52 on all three cards; Tapia scores two knockdowns)
Troy Lowry TKO5 Travis Loveless (Lowry scores knockdown in 5th round)
Ray Lucius UD4 Nathan Wilkes (40-35 on all three scorecards)
James Shorter KO2 Yauheni Shishporenak (Shorter scores knockdown in 2nd round)
Ramiro Bueno Jr KO1 Anthony McManaway
Full undercard recap: CLICK HERE
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com.
Tags: Top Rank , Mike Lee