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The gloves are off

Andrew Owens | Monday, September 19, 2011

Mike Lee said he felt the enormity of the grand stage prior to being introduced at Purcell Pavilion, but the 2009 Notre Dame graduate showed no signs of stage fright in his unanimous victory over Jacob Stiers in front of a packed crowd Friday night.

“We were standing in the tunnel, but once ‘Good Life,’ my song, came on, I felt at home. I felt good, and I think I came out with a lot of poise out there,” Lee said. “What a great night.”

Lee (7-0, 4 KOs) needed all four rounds to clinch the win over Stiers (4-2, 2 KOs), but the former Bengal Bouts champion said he never imagined leaving Purcell Pavilion without a victory.

“I knew there was no losing,” Lee said. “I said in the press conference — if I’m losing, you’re going to have to carry me out. There was no way I was losing that fight. I just knew it. I don’t care if he knocked me down 10 times, I was still getting back up and finding ways to win, and that’s what I did.”

Lee was in fact knocked down once by a Stiers right hook, but the 24-year-old quickly got back on his feet and kept fighting.

Lee’s poise allowed him to remain active for all four rounds, as he had to adjust to Stiers’ playing style.

“I definitely wanted to pace myself,” he said. “He was running from me the whole fight and I didn’t want to get caught with anything stupid, but my trainer Ronnie Shields taught me to stay poised in this atmosphere.

“I easily could’ve gone out there and thrown a million punches and tried to go for a really quick knockout and tire myself out, but we’re trying to learn, so we’re trying to get those rounds and learn, and I think that’s what we did.”

While Lee did not knock out Stiers, he said he was very pleased with his performance.

“It was a great fight,” he said. “I knew I won the fight [after it ended], but yeah, when they raised my hands it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s tough to explain. It’s why I do what I do, and my team knows that and my dad knows that. 

“We spend hours in the gym and weeks down in Houston, and it’s for that moment. It’s for that moment right there when I get to raise my hand and everybody gets to see the work we put in.”

The proceeds from the match were donated to the Robinson Community Family Center in South Bend and the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation.

“The fact that two organizations got the proceeds from the fight means the world to me,” he said.

Lee’s next fight will be held at Madison Square Garden in New York on Dec. 3rd.

Ramiro Bueno def. Anthony McManaway (KO)

Both light heavyweight fighters started aggressively in the first round, but South Bend native Ramiro Bueno was relentless en route to a knockout at the 1:24 mark in the first round.

James Shorter def. Boris Shishporenok (KO)

Despite a 63-pound weight disadvantage, Elkhart native James Shorter picked up a second round knockout to win the heavyweight match. 

Ray Lucies def. Nathan Wilkes (Unanimous decision)

Most of the four-round fight was uneventful until Ray Lucies cornered his opponent for much of the final stanza to seal the match in his professional debut.

Troy Lowry def. Travis Loveless (KO)

Troy Lowry picked up a fifth-round knockout to improve to 27-11 with 15 KOs in his career. 

Glen Tapia def. Marcus Thompkins (Unanimous decision)

Glen Tapia had an opportunity to finish Marcus Thompkins in the second round after cornering his opponent with great technique, but Thompkins was able to extend the match before eventually losing in a unanimous decision.

Contact Andrew Owens at aowens2@nd.edu