Crunch Time: Lee McGregor has some big decisions to make, yet insists he still has plenty to offer

Upon hearing the result, both men dropped to their knees after an exhausting 12 rounds. The first man to sink to the floor appeared almost incredulous that he did not receive the decision, and a feeling of devastation ran through him. It was raw, heartbreaking, not what was supposed to happen. Seconds later, the man to his right, the away fighter, slumped to the canvas in overjoyment at the result, as well as the prospect of finding a home for his new IBO super-bantamweight belt. Over five thousand miles away from his home in Ensenada, this 122lb Mexican terrier named Erik had won the biggest fight of his life.

Before the fight, the Meadowbank Sports Centre in Edinburgh had hoped to create a din that would unsettle Erik Robles Ayala. However, there isn’t much evidence to support the theory that such noise could rattle a fighter from a country where boxing is a way of life. Leading up to the bout, Lee McGregor appeared confident and smiled throughout fight week, despite not many people being familiar with his opponent. However, seasoned British fight fans have learned to be wary of unknown Mexican fighters. Fighting in his home city, live on terrestrial television, and in his debut for his new promoters Wasserman, all that was missing from this story was a happy ending. Unfortunately, boxing doesn’t work that way, and reality hit hard for McGregor, who now has to deal with his first professional loss.

Reflecting on the fight, McGregor said, “I’ve watched it back many times and I’ve not come out [and] said much about the fight. The people close to me know the struggles and the problems I had leading into that fight. The fight didn’t really tell that because I fought well. I thought a gave a very good account of myself against a very good fighter, but that was me nowhere near my best.”

He also mentioned that his preparation for the fight was not ideal, with various issues and struggles he didn’t want to delve into. McGregor fought his heart out despite these challenges. In the fight itself, moments arose where it seemed like McGregor could take control, but ultimately, Ayala emerged as the winner.

Outside of the fight, McGregor has faced personal tragedies, including the deaths of several loved ones. Between 2017 and 2018, he experienced the loss of his mother, cousin, grandmother, and grandfather. Furthermore, his father was involved in a serious accident that left him fighting for his life. McGregor’s own hand injury and training cancellations added to the difficulties he faced leading up to the fight with Ayala.

McGregor acknowledged the effects of inactivity on his performance, stating, “With being so inactive, I probably was the heaviest I’ve ever been.” He believes that his inactivity, weight struggles, and other issues impacted his camp for the fight. Despite the challenges he faced, McGregor never considered turning down the opportunity to fight Ayala. He emerged from the bout having put on a great fight, but he still feels the loss deeply.

Looking ahead, McGregor is determined to make a comeback and believes that the best version of himself is yet to come. He admits to feeling pressure to achieve his goals of becoming a world champion and fighting for a world title. Inactivity and the challenges faced with his former promotion company have hindered his progress. However, he remains optimistic about the future, promising that he will come back stronger.

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