Andy Lee vs. Craig McEwan: A Celtic brawl at Foxwoods
By Dan Fitz-Simons: Tickets for the March 12th Sergio Martinez-Sergey Dzinziruk bout at the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut are selling briskly. However, it may not be the main event that’s attracting the large live gate. According to some observers, it’s the Lee-McEwan undercard which has peaked the interest of many fight fans and generated unexpected excitement. The middleweight contest between two European warriors from Scotland and Ireland will also be broadcast live on HBO and is expected by some to upstage the Martinez-Dzinziruk fight. Moreover, the winner of the undercard could gain a chance to face the victor of the main event for a shot at the middleweight title.
Craig McEwan is relatively unknown among American fans. Nevertheless, he has a solid amateur background, and is under contract to Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy promotions. In addition, Craig trains under Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym and has been advised by legendary Scottish lightweight champion, Ken Buchanan. McEwan has an undefeated record of 19-0 (10 KOs) including a win over Bryan Vera, the only opponent to have beaten Andy Lee 24-1(18 KOs). Although Vera TKO’d Lee, he was later outboxed by McEwan. Even Lee admitts McEwan is a good boxer with lots of skills. Craig’s heros are Muhammed Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard; he believes his feet are his best asset. Lee can’t beat him if he can’t catch him.
Lee’s manager-trainer, Manny Steward has scheduled Chad Dawson to spar with Andy, since both are southpaws. Steward thinks McEwan is “a little different.” According to Manny, McEwan has his own rhythm and throws punches with both hands; “he’s agile in a strange sort of way.” Consequently, Lee can’t relax against the dangerous Scotsman. The Limerick Assassin will have to use his advantage in power to gain respect by setting the tempo of the contest from the very beginning. Lee can box as well as bang, and he’s tall with a long reach, so Mc Ewan will try to get on the inside. However, the Irishman’s punching power is accompanied by precision, and that could make the difference.
Lee already beat McEwan as an amateur in a UK four nations tournament in 2005. Moreover, John Duddy, who was originally scheduled to fight Lee, thinks Andy will defeat McEwan again. Duddy feels that because Lee and McEwan are both southpaws, Craig won’t be able to use his footwork the way he would against an orthodox opponent. According to Duddy, “McEwan will have to stand and fight, and Lee has the advantage in punching power; he hits harder.” Unfortunately, Steward won’t be in Lee’s corner because of the Cotto PPV the same night. His nephew and trainer, Javan “Sugar” Hill, will be handling Andy instead. But no matter what the circumstances, the Lee-McEwan bout has every prospect of developing into a celtic brawl.
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