Andy Lee Stopped In 7th By Vera, in Quick Stoppage
By Scott Gilfoid: Previously undefeated middleweight prospect Andy Lee was shockingly stopped in the 7th of a scheduled 10-round bout by former star from The Contender reality television series on ESPN Brian Vera (16-1, 10 KOs) at the Mohegan Sun Casino, in Uncasville, Connecticut. The stoppage, however, appeared to come far too quickly, as Lee was still punching back at the time that referee Tony Chiarantano moved in and halted the bout at 2:17 of the 7th round, just after Lee had landed a big left hand. However, Lee was bleeding badly from a cut on the side of his right eye, and had been seriously hurt in the round in the round by a series of right hands from Vera.
The win was especially shocking considering that Lee’s trainer Emanuel Steward had earlier in the week been saying that Lee was a can’t miss future champion in the next year. This loss, however, changes things dramatically for Lee. Even though the fight was stopped a bit early by the referee, Lee showed major vulnerability to right hands shots from Vera, and was hit repeatedly with them from rounds two until the bitter end came in the 7th round.
Lee, ranked #13 in the IBF, started well in the first round, hitting Vera, 26, with straight left hands over and over. A short time into the round, Lee dropped Vera with a left hand. This came after Lee had first staggered Vera with a left hand as he was attempting to come inside on Lee. After hurting him, Lee came forward and landed another left hand that dropped Vera to one knee. Vera got up and took two more right hands that staggered him. Lee landed several more big shots to finish the round but was unable to put the finishing touches on Vera.
In the 2nd round, Lee continued to land big shots with both his left and right hands until late in the round, when Vera hurt Lee with a big right hand that came out of nowhere. The punch was able to land because was holding his right hand down by his waist instead of guarding his chin, allowing Vera to come over the top with a roundhouse right hand. It looked like a sloppy punch, like most of Vera’s punches, but it was effective against Lee due to his low guard.
Vera was warned for using his head in the 3rd round, as he was coming in like a goat, trying to get inside on Lee. Most of the round was dominated by Lee, but Vera was able to land several big right hand shots, which seemed to take the energy out of Lee and cause him to tire somewhat.
In the 4th round, Lee was cut on the side of his right eye after taking several hard jabs from Vera. Most of the round, however, was dominated by Lee, except that he continued to take occasional big right hand shots from Vera. Lee landed the bigger shots and more numerous shots in the round, but Vera’s punches had more of an effect on Lee, who was beginning to look unsteady, as if his legs were weakening. His face was beginning to redden and swell, despite the fact that he wasn’t getting hit all that much by Vera. Lee didn’t look comfortable with the fact that Vera was fighting back, as he seemed flustered and panicky with Vera’s attacks.
The 5th round was a better round for Lee, as he seemed to regain his composure somewhat and easily win the round with the sue of his jab and straight left hand. Lee, however, wasn’t using his right hook very much, a prime weapon of his, and it seemed somewhat odd. Vera didn’t need to guess hard what punch Lee was generally throwing at him, because Lee was throwing almost entirely straight lefts. The punches were quite hard, to be sure, but it seemed as if Lee would have been better off if he were to have added in his right hook which he often uses to catch his opponents off guard. Vera, for his part, was warned by the referee for holding the back of Lee’s head and hitting him with uppercuts. I’d noticed that Vera had been doing this in the earlier rounds when he would come in close range with Lee. The referee, however, failed to issue a warning until this round.
Vera came out looking like a different fighter in the 6th round, as he immediately attacked Lee at the start, hitting him with big left and right hand shots to the head. Lee fired back with some blistering left hands, which snapped Vera’s head back. I was astonished that Vera could take so much punishment without going down, for he got hit with some tremendous shots in this round, as well as the other five preceding rounds, yet he only went down once. I got to hand it to him, he’s got an excellent chin. By the end of the round, Lee was beginning to show swelling under both eyes, and his face was swelling and during a bright red. Again, Lee looked really tired, and I began to suspect that Vera might stop him in the next round or two.
In the 7th round, Lee attempted to move around the ring using side ways movement. However, his legs were like weak noodles, and he didn’t have the power to move more than a few steps before he had to stop and trade with Vera. Once Lee was immobile, Vera used the opportunity to land a number of big right hands to the head of Lee. Seconds later, Vera staggered Lee with two right hands. Miraculously, Lee somehow fired back a right hand to the head of Vera, that temporarily stopped his momentum for a second. However, Vera could sense that Lee was hurt and immediately restarted his attack and hit Lee with three consecutive right hands.
None of the punches seemed to have much on them, for Vera looked completely tired and appeared to have punched himself out almost within seconds of the start of the round. Lee fired back a beautiful right-left combination that was thrown very hard. Vera answered back with a big right hand that landed flush to the face of Lee. Immediately Lee returned fire with a hard left hand to the head of Vera. At this point, the referee Tony Chiarantano jumped in between the two fighters and stopped the bout at 2:17 of the round.
It was a bad stoppage, and I couldn’t see any reason for it. Lee was firing back and looked about as bad as Vera, who also was exhausted and taking shots flush to the face without any kind of defense. Lee didn’t appear in danger of going down and was merely tired, the same as Vera. Before that, Vera had lost almost all the power in his shots and was only connecting with arm shots, the type that couldn’t have knocked Lee out no matter what condition he was in.
Whatever the case, the fight was stopped early and it ruins Lee’s unbeaten record, and probably the likelihood of him fighting Kelly Pavlik in the near future. However, it is a wake up call for Lee, who badly needs to work on his defense. Specifically, he needs to learn to keep his right hand held high to protect his chin. He also needs to spar more because he looked uncomfortable with Vera’s constant attacks. Lee showed stress from Vera’s continuous pressure and showed zero ability to work on the inside, something Vera took advantage frequently.
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