A man who graduates with a 3.8 GPA and a finance degree from Notre Dame has plenty of options. Even in this economy. Alumni of the Fighting Irish are spread far and wide. Particularly here in New York, the financial capital of the world.
Sure, there were plenty of job offers from Wall Street. But Mike Lee has taken a different path to the Big Apple. Lee, a light heavyweight, will be fighting on the undercard of Saturday night's Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito card at Madison Square Garden.
"People always want to talk about my options," said Lee, who is 24. "To me, there is really only one option. I love the sport more than anything else. Boxing was the only choice for me."
As an amateur, Lee won the 2009 Chicago Golden Gloves. He also was a three-time winner of the Bengal Bouts, an all campus intramural boxing tournament at Notre Dame. Lee, 7-0, with four knockouts, turned pro in 2010.
As member of Top Rank's stable, he has thus far fought at some of boxing's biggest venues. He fought at Cowboys Stadium (under Manny Pacquiao-Margarito), Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
Lee even fought on the first pro boxing card on the Notre Dame campus.
"That was a lot of fun," said Lee. "The campus has really adopted me as one of their athletes. I've been invited to be on the sidelines for football games. There was a lot of pressure fighting on campus. But I like fighting on the big cards. There's a lot of pressure when you are on a championship card but I like that pressure. I think I do well under those circumstances."
In boxing, it doesn't get bigger than a show at Madison Square Garden.
"I am really excited," said Lee. "There is so much history there. The Garden is the Mecca of boxing. There is a big Notre Dame contingent in New York, so the atmosphere is going to be great."
The work Lee puts in with trainer Ronnie Shields is paying off but he's in no rush to achieve goal.
"There is no reason to rush this," said Lee. "My time will come. I have one goal for the future and that's to be a world champion. I really want to do this. I don't have to do it."
Notes: Long Islanders Mike Ruiz and Sean Monaghan will fight on the undercard Saturday night. The Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito weigh-in will be open to the public. It's Friday, December 2 at 4 p.m. at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.