Donovan hasn’t put a foot wrong since turning over and his record compares favourably to the majority of 9-0 fighters.
However, a hand injury has slowed his rise somewhat and prevented him from registering the kind of attention-grabbing statements victories he did against the likes of Jumaane Camero and Siar Ozgul in 2020.
‘The Real Deal’ has sorted the hand issue and did account for Tom Hill, an English fighter determined to record an upset and with a win over Rohan Date on his slate, last time out.
However, a one-sided points win wasn’t quite enough to match the fighter or his team’s high standards. Former world champion, Lee claims the performance could have been better and suggests the 23-year-old is showing the mental scars of his injury.
Although they are scars he believes can he can help heal.
“There is a story behind every performance, Paddy had a long layoff because he had a hand injury, this was his first since coming back. He dominated and had Hill hurt during the fight but he was trying to force it a little bit too much, not stepping his feet and not really boxing. He was trying to force instead of creating an opportunity to knock Hill out,” Lee said ID Boxing about the August 6 Return of the Mick undercard fight.
“He was fairly active through the pandemic but he’s been carrying a hand injury throughout all those fights and fought them with that hand injury.
“He eventually had to get it taken care of. He fought [Miroslav Serban] in Glasgow on the Taylor – Catterall undercard and he was just like ‘I can’t keep punching with this’. He went to Mike Hayden a Manchester hand specialist and had a bone graph. Now he seems to be able to punch. I think it’s psychological now. It’s a weird one because it’s probably physically impossible for him to break his hand again but he’s still reluctant to throw it with complete power.
“It’s just a matter of time, he’s got all the talent, we just got to work together more because it’s well publicised I had a baby in July so I wasn’t in the gym and I wasn’t training him.”
It’s as ever an honest assessment from Lee, who takes a logical approach to the sport and Donovan’s career. The Limerick man is confident his fellow Treaty county sports star can get over the issue and push on toward greatness.
“It’s all part of the learning, it’s all good experience, and having fought myself if it’s a great performance I don’t get over-excited, if it’s a below-par performance I don’t get too excited either. It’s all part of the learning and hopefully, we get him out soon. Paddy is one of the best young fighters in the world and only time will tell how far he will go in the sport.”
The Top Rank starlet with World Youth title ambitions has been working with Lee over the last number of weeks in Morecombe.
Donovan has been in camp with Joe Parker, who Lee also trains, ahead of his eagerly anticipated heavyweight showdown with Joe Joyce on a card Anthony Cacace appears on, and has also spent time training alongside WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury.