By Edward Chaykovsky
Former middleweight world champion Andy Lee (34-3-1, 24KOs) admits that he could potentially announce his retirement unless the right opponent is secured in the first half of next year.
Lee has been inactive since losing his WBO world title last December to Billy Joe Saunders in a mandatory fight.
He had been in negotiations to face WBC number one ranked Jorge Sebastian Heiland, but the contest fell out because it was due to take place on December 10 as part of the Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs undercard in New York City. After Golovkin-Jacobs got pushed back to next year, Lee was left without a return date.
"It looked like I could have fought again a couple of times this year but it didn’t materialise. Those would have been big, significant fights. I’m a little bit disappointed about that but in another way I’m not because I needed a rest from the game. I’m boxing as a professional for over 10 years and especially since joining Adam Booth, it has been very intense," Lee told IFL TV.
“It has been a very hard regime training-wise and my fights were all very tough fights, top-end fights. I’ve consciously taken a rest from it. It looked like I could have fought 10 December. Initially it was just to get me out and have a fight. But I didn’t want just a run of the mill fight. They talked about Jorge Sebastian Heiland who is the WBC number one contender. I thought that would be a very good fight and I would go for that. It would have been in Madison Square Garden as part of Golovkin v Jacobs but they didn’t reach an agreement and we’re just waiting to see if the fight get set, if the date can be put on again.
“It was just preliminary, there was nothing official. But at this stage of my career, it has to be a big fight to entice me back to fight again. I have achieved everything I wanted in the game. I’m quite happy in my life. I love boxing, I’m still young at 32. So while I still can fight, I want to fight, but it has to be the right fight. We’ll see. I’m not just going to come back to knock over a few bums.”
If Golovkin and Jacobs are unable to reach an agreement, Lee is willing to step in to fight either of them. He would even jump in with Saunders for a second time.
He wants to continue his career, but only if the right fights are on the table. Unless he secures an opponent with some meaning in the next six months, Lee is actually going to consider the possibility of retiring from the sport.
“If in six months time, the right fight doesn’t come, I will have to think about it [retiring]. I have nothing left to achieve or prove to myself or anybody. It would be nice to get one more run at the title, win it back, and go out off into the sunshine. I’m willing to fight anybody. If Jacobs and Golovkin reach an agreement, it’s very possible I could fight Heiland," Lee said.
“If they don’t, I’ll be happy to step in and fight one of them. That’s the type of fighter I’m looking at. I’d love a rematch with Billy Joe Saunders, but I don’t see it happening. But I want to fight the top guys.”