Ireland's Andy Lee, who won a middleweight world title after a stellar amateur career, announced his retirement from boxing on Tuesday.
Lee, 33, appearing on the Irish radio broadcaster Newstalk's "Off The Ball" sports show, said he was done boxing and decided to end his career because "now is the right time."
In December 2014, Lee got a chance to fight Matt Korobov for a vacant world title in Las Vegas. Lee was trailing on three scorecards after the fifth round -- by a shutout on two scorecards -- when he saved himself by knocking Korobov out with a powerful right hook in the sixth round.
It was that same right hook, the southpaw Lee's most fearsome punch, that had also rescued him in memorable fashion in his previous fight. That is when he looked out of sorts and was trailing John Jackson after four rounds before rallying to flatten him in the fifth round in a knockout of the year contender.
Lee made one successful title defense in a split draw with former titlist Peter Quillin, who was overweight and not eligible to win the belt, in April 2015. Lee lost the 160-pound belt in his second defense in December 2015 when he got knocked down twice in the first round and lost a split decision to England's Billy Joe Saunders in Manchester, England.
The 6-foot-2 Lee (35-3-1, 24 KOs) didn't fight again until March 2017, winning an eight-round decision against journeyman KeAndrae Leatherwood. Lee contemplated retirement after that, but his name continued to pop up in connection to other fights, including one against Daniel Jacobs on April 28.
Lee said he had no regrets about his career, telling the radio show, "I've actually achieved everything I wanted to in the game. I've had an amazing career and an amazing life through boxing. It's defined my life. I kept myself available to see what my options were, but none of the fights or none of the offers were big enough to get me to go back."
Lee's wife recently gave birth to their first child, a daughter, which he said was part of his decision.
"I have responsibilities now as a father. To leave my wife and daughter, it would take a big fight to get me to do that and go through all that training," Lee said. "I took a decision to take some time off, obviously. Then we had a baby that has been the best thing, and that's my priority right now."
Lee was a 2004 Irish Olympian and came into the pro ranks as a heralded prospect in 2006 with the expectation that he would win a world title. Under the guidance of Emanuel Steward, the late, great Hall of Fame trainer, Lee moved to Detroit and lived with Steward, who became a father figure. He predicted Lee would win a world title and helped mold him into one of boxing's top middleweights.
In 2008, Lee, 15-0 at the time, suffered a huge upset seventh-round knockout loss to Brian Vera on ESPN2's old "Friday Night Fights" series, but he eventually avenged the defeat with a one-sided 10-round decision in 2011 that helped pave the way for Lee's first world title shot.
He got it two fights later when he challenged then-titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez but suffered a seventh-round knockout loss. When Lee finally won a world title 2½ years later to fulfill Steward's prophecy, he dedicated the fight to him.