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Lee signed with Top Rank Inc. and turned professional after graduating at the top
of his class with a degree in Finance from the Mendoza School of Business at the University of Notre Dame in 2009.
Upon announcing the signing of Lee, Bob Arum, Chairman of Top Rank Inc., said, “Mike Lee is a great example of the graduates Notre Dame produces. We at Top Rank hope we can fulfill Mike’s ambitions as a professional boxer. We know Mike will enhance the sport of boxing and we look forward to promoting his professional career.”
Longtime Top Rank matchmaker and 2010 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Bruce Trampler stated “Mike Lee is one of those kids who makes you proud to be in boxing. A very bright, personable young man outside the ring, and a real fighter inside the ropes. His presence in the pro ranks enhances the sport.”
Wrote Thomas Gerbasi at BoxingScene.com “In a sport rapidly filling up with businessmen disguised as prizefighters and reluctant ‘warriors’ afraid to take the risks that make fighters great, Lee actually wants to be here. He could have gone right to Wall Street with a 3.8 GPA and a Finance Degree from Notre Dame and made a helluva lot more money punching numbers than punching opponents, and with a lot less wear and tear on his body.”
In September 2011, Lee became a national spokesman for Subway Restaurants and continues to be prominently featured in their nationally broadcast “Famous Fan” advertising campaigns.
Also in September 2011, Lee headlined the first ever-pro boxing event at the University ofNotre Dame, donating over $100,000 to Notre Dame Charities through The Mike Lee Foundation.
Lee has been featured in numerous media platforms including Men’s Health, GQ Magazine, Sports Business Journal, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times and in recent televised appearances on CNBC’s “Sports Biz” and NBC’s ‘Training For Tahoe” special with The Office’s Brian Baumgartner (“Kenny’).
FIGHT-BY-FIGHT 2012 – On Saturday, September 15th, Lee made his HBO Pay-Per-View debut from The Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dominating Paul Harness over four rounds, Lee won a unanimous decision by scores of 40 X 36 on all three judges scorecards.
Utilizing a range finding jab and crunching body shots throughout the fight, Lee scored at will against the game Harness.
Lee’s win was featured on the undercard to the World Middleweight Championship between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez in front of a sold-out crowd of over 19,000 including a very large amount of Notre Dame alums and Team Lee supporters.
Lee won his tenth professional bout by brutally knocking out Tyler Seever in the second round on Saturday, August 4th at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas. Controlling the action from the opening bell with a perfect range finding jab, Lee scored at will against the aggressive Seever drilling him with chopping right hands in the second half of the stanza.
In front of the packed house of roaring Team Lee supporters, Lee continued the onslaught as the second round began, dropping Seever with a brilliant left hook, right hand combination. Seever bravely rose to continue, but Lee ended the bout with a devastating right to the jaw drilling him back to the canvas as referee Russell Mora immediately called a halt to the action at the 1:35 mark of the round.
With the sensational performance Lee improved his perfect record to 10-0-0 (6KO’s). The bout was broadcast on Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo Tecate.
On Friday, June 8th, Lee won a six round unanimous decision over Eliseo Durazo at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Dominating throughout the fight with a terrific jab and battering right hand, Lee controlled the action from the outset winning by scores of 59-54 on all three judges scorecards.
Fought in front of a sold out crowd of Notre Dame alums and supporters, Lee also exhibited excellent movement throughout the six rounds, avoiding Durazo’s attempt to turn the bout into a slugfest. The frustrated opponent was deducted a point in the fourth round for a low blow to Lee.
The win, increasing Lee’s record to 9-0-0 (5KO’s) was broadcast LIVE on ESPN Friday Night Fights.
FIGHT-BY-FIGHT 2011 – Lee made his Madison Square Garden, New York City debut on Saturday, December 3rd, improving to 8-0-0 with five knockouts with a dominant performance over Allen Medina culminating in a brutal fourth round knockout. Utilizing a stiff, range finding jab, Lee was aggressive and smart, using terrific combinations to consistently hurt Medina over the first two rounds. In the third stanza, Lee added crunching body shots, further weakening Medina.
In the fourth round, Lee drilled Medina with a powerful overhand right hand to the head, earning the knockout stoppage at 0:55 of the round. The four rounds served as Lee’s finest performance of his career in front of a sold out crowd of over 21,000.
Lee’s win was featured on the undercard to the Miguel Cotto/Antonio Margarito rematch and Junior Middleweight World Championship.
On Friday, September 16th, Lee returned to the University of Notre Dame to headline FIGHT LIKE A CHAMPION, the first ever-professional boxing event on campus. All profits from the event were donated to the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation and the Robinson Community Learning Center in South Bend.
Lee looked sensational in the scheduled four rounder against Jacob Stiers, dropping him three times enroute to a four round unanimous decision win. With piston like precision Lee was able to score points from the opening bell with crunching body shots combined with devastating over hand rights that consistently found their target.
In front of a massive crowd at the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (basketball arena), Lee improved his record to 7-0-0 (4KO’s). Highlights of his bout were shown the next day during the NBC broadcast of the Notre Dame/Michigan State football game.
Legendary talk-show host Regis Philbin served as the special guest ring announcer for the main event. Among those in attendance were legendary Notre Dame Football Coach Ara Parseghian and former NFL Pro Bowler and star of the 1988 Notre Dame National Championship Football Team Ricky Watters.
Lee made his first appearance in Southern California on Saturday, July 9th at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California, just outside of Los Angeles. Featured on the undercard of the World Lightweight Championship bout between Brandon Rios and Urbano Antillon, Lee entered the ring against Michael Birthmark with the support of a huge gathering of Notre Dame Alums and Team Lee supporters.
With a devastating overhand right, Lee drilled Birthmark to the canvas just one minute into the first stanza. The game Birthmark recovered and finished the round. With blistering body shots, Lee controlled the action over the next two rounds, dropping Birthmark two additional times in the third round before the bout was called to a halt at the 2:54 mark by referee Jerry Cantu.
Highlights of Lee’s performance were broadcast on SHOWTIME as part of their coverage of the world title bout.
On May 6th Lee won a four round decision over Gilbert Gastelum at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. In front of a massive crowd of Team Lee supporters and an ESPN2 Friday Night Fights nationwide audience, Lee looked sensational throughout the four round bout controlling the action with a piston like jab. Repeatedly hurting Gastelum with hard shots to the body and hard-hitting right crosses, Lee dominated the fight.
Wrote Dan Rafael of ESPN.com “Lee is probably the most popular four-round fighter in the world. One look around the giant ballroom at Mandalay Bay, and the first thing you would have noticed was the sea of fans in blue and gold T-shirts that read “Team Lee.” Lee was never in any danger and had a huge third round in which he hurt Gastelum with an uppercut and had him reeling. We look forward to seeing more of Lee.”
Lee kicked off his 2011 campaign with a stunning first round knockout of Pablo Gomez on February 26th at The Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. Lee dropped Gomez with a flush right hand to the jaw, sending his mouthpiece flying. A brutal overhand right dropped Gomez again and referee Russell Mora called a halt to the carnage at the 2:17 mark of the initial stanza. The fight took place in front of a packed house of Notre Dame alums and supporters of Lee who made the trip from the Chicagoland area.
Among those in attendance to support Lee were former Notre Dame All-American wide receiver and current Seattle Seahawk Golden Tate, standout tight end from the Kansas City Chiefs Tony Moeaki and Cincinnati Bengal quarterback Dan LeFevour.
‘He is making great strides under the tutelage of trainer Ronnie Shields…he is one of the most interesting young fighters around because of his crowd-pleasing style” said Dan Rafael of ESPN.com
The knockout of Gomez was featured in a two-page pictorial in ESPN The Magazine. (March 21, 2011 issue).
2010 — On November 13th at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Lee stopped Keith Debow in the first round. Utilizing a range finding jab, Lee took control of the fight from the outset battering Debow. Adding heavy-handed overhand right hands, Lee trapped Debow in a neutral corner dropping him hard with a left hook, overhand right combination to the head.
With Debow badly hurt, referee Robert Chapa stopped the bout at the 1:33 mark of the initial stanza. Lee’s win was featured on the undercard to the highly anticipated Super Welterweight World Championship between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito.
Included among the huge crowd of supporters for Lee was Las Vegas performing legend Wayne Newton.
On September 11th at The Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Lee stopped Alex Rivera with a brutal left hand to the body in the second round. With the fallen Rivera obviously unable to continue, referee Tony Weeks called a halt to the bout at the 2:59 mark.
Said Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review Journal, “Lee, who entered the ring with a member of his entourage waving a Notre Dame flag, much to the delight of the couple hundred fans who came to Las Vegas from his native Chicago to root him on, never had a problem…hitting Rivera wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted…constantly landing combinations that stunned Rivera.”
On May 29th at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion; Lee made his pro debut with a unanimous shutout four round decision over Emmit Woods in a light heavyweight bout broadcast internationally on Top Rank Live. Lee shocked the boxing world as a crowd of over 2,000 distinctly purchased tickets for his fight, the largest Top Rank Live attendance for the year 2010.
Said Dan Rafael of ESPN.com; “Lee, who is being trained by Ronnie Shields, one of the best in the business, won easily against Woods. It was nice to see that Lee's fundamentals were so sound. He looked in great shape and displayed a crisp jab, which he kept working throughout the fight. He also kept his hands nice and high and threw a lot of combinations. For a pro debut, it was a fine performance. With his popularity, all-American back story and potential, he's a guy to keep an eye on.”
Lee first stepped into the ring as a competitive boxer at Notre Dame after transferring from the University of Missouri following his freshman year. While at Notre Dame, he became a three-time Bengal Bouts champion, a school tournament started by Knute Rockne, which raises money for the children of Bangladesh. In the summer of 2008, Lee spent fifteen days in Bangladesh during a break from his studies at Notre Dame, as part of the university’s Holy Cross Missions of Bangladesh.
“Going to Notre Dame was always a dream of mine and I was grateful to have the opportunity to transfer and complete my education at such an esteemed university. Notre Dame gave me so many opportunities and changed my life forever.”
“Traveling to Bangladesh and witnessing the simple things we take for granted, like running water and a clean place to sleep, are not so simple for the natives in Bangladesh and that forever changed my view on life. The Bengal Bouts and Notre Dame opened my eyes to another world. I may have left Notre Dame, but Notre Dame will never leave me. That is why it is very important to give back and help fund the Holy Cross Missions of Bangladesh.”
After signing with Top Rank, Mike moved to Houston where he is being trained by highly regarded trainer Ronnie Shields. “Mike is a hard worker and a great learner; he wants to be a champion and realizes there are no shortcuts” said Shields.
About his style Lee said, ‘I’m a power-puncher who can box. I definitely have knockout power, but at the same time I like to box, too. I like to go to the body a lot.”
“I’m an aggressive fighter. My right hand and my left hook are just something that comes naturally.”
Lee started at linebacker on the school football team at Benet Academy in Wheaton, Illinois. He took up boxing the summer following his senior year of high school.
Knockout power in both hands…punishing, range finding left jab…very good body puncher….. physically very strong, is always in great shape…..excellent athlete. ..
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 11 fights…35 total rounds
AVERAGE LENGTH OF BOUTS: 3.2 rounds
KNOCKOUT PERCENTAGE: 54.5 %
DISTANCE FIGHTS: 6 rounds 1 (1-0), 4 rounds 4 (4-0)