ANDY LEE insists that a first pro defeat last week doesn’t spell the beginning of the end for Jason Quigley – and has urged the Ballybofey man to learn lessons from his story.
Lee retired with an impressive 35-3-1 record and suffered his own first loss at a similar stage to Quigley’s defeat by Tureano Johnson.
Quigley’s trainer, Dominic Ingle, retired him on the stool in the ninth round of his NABF middleweight tittle defence with Johnson last Thursday, with defeat dropping his record to16-1 in the paid ranks.
Lee was 15-0 when he met the under-rated Brian Vera in Uncasville in March, 2008.
Vera stunned Lee with a defeat, but 11 fights later Lee would get his revenge in Atlantic City and he went on to claim the WBO world middleweight title.
“Nothing changes. He’s still a world class fighter and he just has to come back,” Lee said on Off The Brawl this week.
“This is such an important time in his career. A loss hurts him so much. It’s not the end of the world and he will come back.
“Now, he’s got to do it the hard way. It will test his character and promoters won’t be as infused by him.”
Quigley was red-hot favourite to defeat Johnson, but the 35-year-old Bahamian caused an upset.
Quigley began well, but once Johnson warmed to his task, it became clear that the Donegal middleweight was in trouble.
Lee said: “What did they expect? Like, did they not do their homework? We bought into it as well and we kind of overlooked him.
“Jason should have had the tools and the skills to beat that guy. Conditioning wise, he looked very tired after two rounds.
“This isn’t slating Jason. Jason is a friend of mine. But I question putting him in there with that guy without being prepared for it.
“The same happened me against Bera and it’s all about how you come back. It’s a hard, hard lesson to learn and such a hard way to learn it.”
Six years after losing to Bera, Lee overcame Matvey Korobov in Las Vegas, becoming the first Irishman to win a world title on American canvas.
Lee said: “When I lost against Bera, I was a prospect on ESPN and was meant to be on HBO the next month. There was no-one there to come and say: ‘Andy, this is one fight. Get back into the gym, don’t let it dent your confidence. This doesn’t change anything.’
“Jason Quigley, a European champion and a world silver medalist, on his day would beat Tureano Johnson.
“He should hold that in the forefront of his mind and start training again.
It took me four or five fights to get the confidence back and thought I was untouchable. It wasn’t until I fought Bera again that it was buried.
“This is not the end of Jason Quigley.”