Mike Lee got a big ovation, had great crowd support, and all in all tonight's card at Notre Dame has to be considered a success. The action in the ring wasn't always pretty, but the right guy won the main event, Ara Parseghian was in attendance, and Regis Philbin got some laughs for calling Kelly Ripa fat. (Oh, it was a sharp one!)
But Lee, while he improved to 7-0 (4 KO) with a win in the four-round (changed from an earlier six) main event, wasn't impressive tonight. Not even a little bit.
Lee won on unanimous scores of 38-34 against Kansas City club fighter Jacob Stiers (4-2, 2 KO), but the fight was terrible to watch, with Stiers wanting to avoid contact for the most part, constantly falling down (on both knockdowns and slips/flops/whatever), and Lee just looking like the mediocre at best prospect he has appeared to be in all of his pro fights.
Lee was also knocked down in the third round, and did appear momentarily hurt when he returned to his feet. But after that he was in no danger, and for the most part Stiers just didn't do much.
Lee, 24, just is not a top prospect. He's a marketing dream, but that's it. He can fight a little, but just does not have the talent that you see out of legit blue chip kids. He works hard. He's a nice guy. But this is not a future world champion.
Also on the card, Glen Tapia improved to 11-0 (5 KO) with a six-round decision over Michigan City's Marcus Thompkins. It was one-way action, and Thompkins mostly fought to survive. I still like Tapia as a prospect, but my expectations have dimmed. He's not a puncher at all, but he does work the body well.
The best fight of the night belonged to veteran club fighter Troy Lowry and Indiana-based pretender Travis Loveless. While the skill level was low, and most of the fight wasn't good at all, the fifth round was tremendous. Lowry (28-11, 17 KO) and Loveless (20-1, 17 KO) went to toe-to-toe war that round, with Lowry flattening Loveless on a huge right hand that sent Loveless face-first to the canvas. Lowry, 41, hadn't won a fight since 2005.
In a four-round light heavyweight bout, Lafayette's Ray Lucius made his pro debut with a decision win over Nathan Wilkes (2-23-1, 2 KO). In heavyweight action, James Shorter also won his pro debut, beating big 38-year-old Yauheni Shishporenak (7-3, 6 KO) by second round knockout. And in the night's first fight, another pro debut didn't go well at all, as Ramiro Bueno Jr (2-2, 1 KO) demolished Anthony McManaway (0-1, 0 KO) in just 1:24.