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Andy Lee: “He can beat Kelly Pavlik right now” – Steward

Andy LeeBy Chris Thomas: In the latest boxing news, Emanuel Steward, trainer of undefeated middleweight prospect Andy Lee (14-0, 11 KOs), is predicting big things for Lee, saying, according to the belfast telegraph, “Andy Lee is the best prospect in the world…Right now he’s the best middleweight in the world. He can beat Kelly Pavlik right now,” said trainer Steward. It seems pretty ambitious prediction on the part of Steward, considering that Lee still hasn’t faced a quality B-level fighter, much less a top A-level fighter in the class of World Boxing Organization/World Boxing Council middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.

More specifically, Lee, 23, looked far from impressive in his last fight, a 6th round stoppage of Irish Jason McKay on December 15th, 2007. Lee, who won the little-known Irish super middleweight title, took a lot of head shots from McKay, and seemed to have little defense for the his right hand. It didn’t help Lee that he held his hands down for most of the fight, concentrating on pot shotting McKay. Lee looked decent in the first couple of rounds, as he pounded the overmatched McKay with shots. However, by the 4th round, Lee began looking badly fatigued, showing a problem with his conditioning.

To be sure, in looking at Lee’s last six fights, only one of them went to the 4th round, with the remaining fights ending in early 1st or 2nd round KOs. Of course, these are C-level opponents, so let’s not get it twisted and pretend that Lee has been steam rolling over top grade fighters. However, if Steward is all all serious about Lee being able to beat a fighter like Pavlik, then Lee is going to have to show some improvements in his stamina.

Because if he were matched up with Pavlik today, or ever a year from now, I see Lee having big problems. He’d likely go out and try to blitz Pavlik early on, as Lee generally goes with all his opponents, but when Pavlik, who tends to get stronger as the fight progresses, is still standing beyond the fourth round, there would be big problems for Lee.

If I were Steward, I’d think seriously about taking it slow with Lee, bring him up a stage at a time, because he doesn’t look good when taking head shots. His head was getting whip lashed around by the unheralded McKay, who is a light-hitting a fighter to say the least.

On Saturday night, Lee will be taking his toughest opponent to date, Alejandro Gustavo Falliga (14-4-2, 4 KOs) on Saturday night at the University Arena, in Limerick, Ireland. Lee should have no problems winning the bout, although if he keeps his hands down at his side like he did against McKay, he’ll be risking fate against the hard-punching Falliga. Certainly, Falliga isn’t in the same class as Lee, but he has respectable power, as evidenced by his two knock downs of highly touted undefeated middleweight Luciano Leonel Cuello in their December 22nd bout.

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