The standard playbook for boxing up-and-comers with just 12 professional fights under their belt is to hone their craft anonymously on various regional undercards, waiting for a chance at a high-profile showcase.
But with his athletic skills and undefeated record, matinee idol looks, tireless charitable work and Finance degree from The University of Notre Dame, as well as the almost unheard of accompanying level of national attention he brings to a sport that desperately needs it, Mike Lee is in no way your average, every day boxing prospect.
A humble and clean-living Subway national spokesperson who donates most of his fight purses to worthy charitable causes such as the Children's Memorial Hospital and the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, Lee (12-0, 7 KOs) will take on Paul Gonsalves (7-3, 3 KOs) of Hyannis, Massachusetts, to open the worldwide ESPN Friday Night Fights telecast this Friday, July 25, in front of a huge crowd of his fans in his hometown of Chicago at the UIC Pavilion.
"I'm beyond excited," said Lee of his upcoming fight. "My last fight in Philly, I was excited to be back in the ring, but to come back home to fight. It's so special to me. I fight better when there's more pressure and fans and more attention and that's what this will be. A national TV fight in my hometown. I'm very grateful."