Lee (27-1, 19 KOs) was nearly three years to the day removed from having suffered his lone defeat — a seventh-round knockout against Brian Vera in March of 2008. McEwan (19-1, 10 KOs), meanwhile, already had vanquished Vera by unanimous decision in May of 2009, two fights after Vera had beaten Lee.
In addition, McEwan had been well-prepared for the bout, having trained at the famous Wild Card Gym with five-time Trainer of The Year Freddie Roach.
McEwan enjoyed an early lead against Lee before being floored in the ninth, and then again in the 10th and final round for his first loss.
At the time of the stoppage, McEwan led 86-84 on the card of Don Ackerman, with judges Glenn Feldman and Clark Sammartino having it even at 85-85.
“I’ve watched the fight on tape, you know. It looked like I was winning,” said McEwan. “But he caught me. He got the shot, and the fight’s over.”
McEwan will try to thrust himself back into the mix of elite fighters on Saturday night, but this time, he’ll do it as a super middleweight. McEwan will take on tough prospect Peter Quillin (25-0, 19 KOs) on the undercard of a main event featuring junior middleweights Alfredo Angulo (20-1, 17 KOs) and James Kirkland (29-1, 26 KOs) in Cancun, Mexico.
“I’m ready for that. I’ve been there. I’ve been in the battles and I’ve stuck in there. I think that I’ve got a good chance and I’m right in there. I think that I’ve learned from the past,” said McEwan.
“I think that my last fight, I put on a great performance as well, but boxing, you can get caught and it’s all over. But I’ve worked on those mistakes and I’ve had a good training camp. So I’m ready for this one.”
QUILLEN TRAINED AMID ALL-STAR CAST
Quillin spent much of his training over the past few months rubbing elbows with some of the premiere fighters in the sport at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif.
Quillin worked out alongside former WBC featherweight and WBA junior lightweight beltholder Jorge Linares, WBA/IBF junior welterweight beltholder Amir Khan, eight-division titleholder Manny Pacquiao and WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
A talented former Cuban amateur who goes by the nickname, “Kid Chocolate,” Quillin fought his way out of Grand Rapids hoping to get an opportunity to shine in the ring.
A bi-coastal boxer who lives in New York City and Los Angeles, Quillin has won four in a row — all by knockout — since signing with Golden Boy Promotions, including a third-round stoppage of former title contender Jesse Brinkley.
Among those Quillin actually sparred with was unbeaten junior middleweight Vanes Martirosyan.
“Once you get in the habit of doing things, it comes automatic for a guy like me. I love to feel as if I have to throw up after a workout session. So going in there with all of these different guys and sparring, it challenged me to want to get better and better and better,” said Quillin.
“Tons of great sparring helped me to get ready for this fight. I’m working toward being one of the best out there, and I’m not going to stop until that happens. Going into this fight, I know that I made the training camp harder than what I think the fight is going to be.”
Since McEwan once worked with Roach, Quillin said he picked the trainer’s brain about his opponent.
“I went to Freddie, and I said, ‘Nobody knows Craig like you do. So I need you to tell me what you know,'” said Quillin. “I had three weeks of one-on-one time with Freddie at one point in Colorado, so I have to say that I had the most time that I had with Freddie.”
During his time at Wild Card, Quillin said he ran into McEwan
“We had some workout sessions together. He wasn’t as friendly as some of the other fighters there, but I understood because we’re both in the same division. I had just started training in the gym, and he seemed uncomfortable sparring with me,” said Quillin.
“McEwan is a nice family man, but he’s going around saying he’s going to knock me out. He must be out of his mind. That stuff is uncalled for. Where did he get that from? He’s only knocked out 10 guys. It’s definitely going to be a good fight with both guys trying to make their mark and putting everything on the line.”
Roach will not be in Quillin’s corner against McEwan.
“Eric Brown is right there in the gym with me and Freddie and he’s worked my corner before,” said Quillin. “Freddie will make the game plan. I’m a fighter who takes this job very seriously.”