Andy Lee vs. Vera Rematch In July?
By Eric Thomas: According to the latest boxing news, Irish middleweight prospect Andy Lee (15-1, 12 KOs) may be fighting a rematch with former star from The Contender reality television series Brian Vera (16-1, 10 KOs) in July, as long as Lee’s badly cut up face has been healed by that time. Lee, 23, whom had been highly hyped by many in the boxing world as a potential future champion, suffered a humiliating 7th round TKO loss to Vera on March 21st. Lee had been mentioned previously as a future opponent for middleweight champion Kelly Pavli going into his fight with Vera, and Lee’s television fight against Vera was thought to be a showcase for him to build up more fans.
Lee was expected to walk right through Vera, who was picked because he was a fighter that Lee could possibly look good against because of Vera’s wide open style of fighting. However, as it turns out, Vera was much too strong for Lee and hurt him repeatedly with right hands from the second round on. Lee later said that he hadn’t listed to his trainer Emanuel Steward’s advice to box more in the fight. Instead, Lee got caught up in a brawl with Vera, seemingly fighting his style of fight. I don’t exactly agree with Lee here. I don’t think he was given much choice in the matter, in that Vera forced him to fight that way as he was attacking him continuously, and not letting him box.
Vera surged forward constantly, cutting off the ring and going directly at Lee which made for only one choice – either fight or go down. Lee doesn’t have the best legs in the game and doesn’t have the movement to stay away from a fighter like Vera for 10 continuous rounds. Certainly, Lee needs to fight Vera again to get the monkey off his back, and try to erase the defeat from the minds of the fans.
However, by doing this, Lee will be taking a tremendous risk, for if he loses once again, it will have a huge impact on his career. Fans will surely see him as a non-champion and will avoid him like a plague. This isn’t a case of an unexpected knockout loss; This was a case of Vera having a style that Lee wasn’t ready for at this early stage in his career. Normally when a fighter is exposed like Lee was, they go back to the drawing board and work on the mistakes that they made in training. They then follow this with fights against marginal opposition with which they can practice what they’ve learned in sparring.
In Lee’s case, he’d be going straight from training back into a bout with Vera without having the chance to test it on other, lighter-hitting fighters. Lee showed against Vera that he has no defense against a right hand, that he can’t handle pressure very well, and that his movement and defense are poor to say the least. That’s a lot of things to work on. I don’t see his movement improving much, because he has skinny legs and isn’t able to bend his knees or move well because of that. His stamina is poor and that’s something that doesn’t change much given that Lee is already in his prime and in top shape.
The same goes for Lee’s lack of defense. He has always kept his right hand low below his waist, practically inviting his opponents to hit him with right hands. Thus, until he fought Vera, few of his opponents could do that because of their limited talent. Vera, however, was a class above in both offense and in terms of having a good chin. While Lee may learn to hold his right hand up to protect his chin, Vera is strong enough to land right through his guard or around it, since most of his punches are the wide variety.
This means that Lee will be going into the fight almost the same as he was the first time. He may improve somewhat, but I’m guessing not nearly enough to beat a fighter as tough and rugged as Vera. Personally, I see this as another miscalculation on the part of Steward, if it’s him that is making the decision to fight Vera once again. If Lee wins, he gains little because no one really knows much about Vera, and most people expected him to beat him the first time around. However, if Lee loses, this puts him in a position of having to start all over again with his career. He’d survive a loss, but it would hurt him as far as future big money fights goes.
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