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Andy Lee Stops Willie Gibbs

Andy LeeBy Sean McDaniel: Middleweight prospect Andy Lee (16-1, 13 KOs) looked impressive on Saturday night in the process of stopping American Willie Gibbs (20-4, 16 KOs) in the 10th round at the University Arena, in Limerick, Ireland. Lee, 24, fought much more cautiously than he had in his past fights, that is, until the 10th round, when he found himself under a heavy attack by Gibbs, who was disparately behind in the fight and trying to score a knockout.

Lee, however, seemed pleased to finally lift the restraints on his own offense and went after Gibbs with some big shots, dropping him with a perfect right hand to the head. Badly hurt, Gibbs dragged himself off the canvas and attempted to fight on. Lee, however, smelling blood now, teed-off on a shaken Gibbs with a flurry of shots, which led to Gibbs’ corner to throw in the towel to signal surrender. The fight was officially stopped by referee Emile Tiedt at 2:46 of the 10th round.

Lee looked much less aggressive in the opening rounds as he had in the past, perhaps having his mind still on his last fight, a 7th round TKO loss to American Brian Vera in March 2008. Using a fast jab, along with measured combinations, Lee was able to control the action in the early going. Gibbs, 32, seemed to be loading up with his shots, looking to take Lee out with a power shot. He was able to land occasionally, but not enough to put Lee in any kind of danger like in his last fight. Perhaps this was made easier because Gibbs wasn’t as intent on pressuring the tall, slender Lee as much as Vera last time out, and without any real pressure being put on him, Lee was able to dictate the pace of the fight using his jab, movement and right hook. Obviously, Lee’s trainer Emanuel Steward chose well by selecting Gibbs as Lee’s comeback opponent, because he wasn’t nearly as aggressive or a threat as Vera had been, making it easy for Lee to shine.

In the 3rd and 4th rounds, Lee elected to trade shots with Gibbs, but once again he had problems, getting cut over his right eye, and taking some big shots to the head. Though Lee took the shots well, it wasn’t a pretty sight to see him getting his head snapped back by shots from a fighter that wasn’t considered on the same level as him. He fired back, hitting Gibbs with some good jabs and even better right hook, straight left combinations. Lee, who had been knocked out in the 1st round in December 2006 by then middleweight Edison Miranda, clearly looked bothered by the power and speed of Lee, and backed off a little.

In the 5th round, Lee attempted to take Gibbs out with a volley of big shots to the head and body, blasting him over and over again in the round. However, in doing so, Lee left himself open for some big right hand shots from Gibbs, who landed well, backing Lee as he thought better of trying to score a quick knockout.

In rounds six through nine, Lee used his boxing skills, movement and jab to keep Gibbs from getting close enough to land his right hand shots. He did a good job for the most part, keeping Gibbs from landing flush with some of his bigger shots, but he still was able to connect more often than I would have expected given Lee’s last performance.

In the 10th round, Gibbs tagged Lee with some really big shots, cutting him in the forehead with a big right hand. Once again, Lee was showing problems with his stamina, his legs looking weak and his face red. However, luck was on his side as Gibbs walked into a big right hand from Lee, and was dropped to the canvas. After getting up, Gibbs was snowed under by an avalanche of punches from Lee, prompting for referee Emile Tiedt to halt the bout at 2:46 of the 10th round.

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