Despite a low-octane affair which was punctuated by boos from the infamously impatient New York audience, the 32-year-old still fancies a crack at the 160-pound Kazakh colossus that is Gennady ‘Triple G’ Golovkin, who retained his lineal title with a hard-earned decision victory over Brooklyn’s Danny Jacobs at the same venue on Saturday – ending his run of 23 consecutive knockouts.
“I’m ready for the fight if it ever came my way,” Lee said. “I know you wouldn’t believe it on that performance, but I know I’m ready, and it’s about levels and the competition you’re in with.
“I think he (Golovkin) has a million opportunities and options in terms of Canelo and Billie Joe Saunders but I’m there or thereabouts and ready to fight him whenever the call comes.”
Word in New York is that Golovkin has signed to fight former Lee conqueror Saunders in June. Lee, however, might be a touch preoccupied in three months’ time, revealing he and his wife Maud are expecting their first child this summer.
“Yeah, it hasn’t been a distraction at all,” said Lee. “It’s been a pleasant feeling in the back of my mind, but it [still] is in the back of my mind, and so now that the fight is out of the way I’ll look forward to that now.”
The fight itself saw Lee rid himself of ring rust after a 15-month absence; his fists were whistling through the Manhattan air early doors, but by the sixth round he was bouncing Leatherwood’s head like a ball and string. Ultimately it was a get-busy-again victory which just about keeps Lee in title conversation.
“It just means I’m active again and eight rounds was probably better than getting a first-round knockout in the long term. It’s not as sensational and it won’t make as many headlines but for me it’s probably better. This gets me active again and it’s a win,” said Lee.
“We’ll see… I’ll give it another year, 18 months, we’ll see… One more run at the title. Three fights, four fights.”
Greater challenges and triumphs await, both in and out of the squared circle.