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The Next Move For Andy Lee

Andy LeeBy Eric Schmidt: In the latest boxing news, undefeated middleweight contender Andy Lee (15-0, 12 KOs) will be reportedly fighting former boxing star from The Contender Brian Vera (15-1, 9 KOs) on March 21st, a fight that will be shown live on ESPN’s Fright Night Fights. This is great news for the unbeaten Lee, for many of his fights have been non-televised, giving his fans little option to seeing his fighter other than watching grainy video of him on Youtube.com.

Vera, 26, is a definite step up for Lee, although perhaps not as big as I would have liked. Vera, a super middleweight, was stopped in the 2nd round by Jaidon Codrington in September 2007. There’s no shame in that, because Codrington is a big puncher, but it does suggest that Vera’s chin isn’t perhaps the best considering the early round in which the knockout took place.

Lee, ranked #14 in the International Boxing Federation middleweight division, is trained by Emanuel Steward, who also trains IBF welterweight champion Kermit Cintron and IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, among many other fighters. This has enabled Lee to spar with many of Steward’s fighters, including Klitschko, who Lee has seem to have adopted some of his trademark hooks, and jabs.

Lee fights again on February 29th in Michigan. Hopefully, it will be against a better opponent than the one that Lee fought last Saturday night, Alejandro Gustavo Falliga, who Lee toyed with before knocking out in the 5th round. Lee knocked the overmatched Falliga down four times in the bout before it was ultimately stopped in the 5th round. Afterwards, Lee’s trainer, Steward said that Lee would be facing the winner of the John Duddy vs. Kelly Pavlik bout. Steward would like for it to be Pavlik, the current WBC & WBO middleweight champion. Steward may indeed get his wish, for Duddy appears to out of his class against a banger like Pavlik, and will have serious problems trying to cope with his extraordinary power.

Unlike Lee, who has fast hands and roughly the same physical dimensions as Pavlik, Duddy is shorter, with naturally short arms. At this point, Steward appears to be rushing Lee ahead perhaps a little too fast – for what reason is unclear – trying to get him a title shot. Maybe Steward sees that Lee is already mature enough, and skilled enough to deal with the leap up in competition. However, it seems to be a drastic jump up in skill level, going from a fighter like Vera to that of Pavlik.

That being said, Steward will probably put Lee in against a couple more fighters after Lee’s March 21st fight with Vera, especially if Lee continues to easily knockout his opposition in 4-5 rounds like he’s been doing as of late. He rarely gets hit, so there’s no worry about the usual things like wear and tear.


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