Andy Lee: I’m not overlooking John Jackson; this is a make or break fight for me
By Scott Gilfoid: #6 WBC Andy Lee (32-2, 22 KO’s) will have his back against the wall on Saturday night in his crucial fight against knockout artist John Jackson (18-1, 15 KO’s) in their fight on HBO pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden. The two will be fighting for the vacant NABF light middleweight title, and Lee says that it’s an eliminator bout as well.
The winner of the Jackson-Lee fight will likely need to wait a long, long time before they get a shot at the WBC junior middleweight title because it’s currently held by Floyd Mayweather Jr., and he’s not going to fight either Jackson or Lee. It’s not that he wouldn’t beat them, but rather there’s no money in a fight against them.
The 6’2” Lee is moving down in weight to the junior middleweight division because he feels that his huge size gives him more of an advantage at this weight than it did at 160 or if he were to move up to 168 or 175.
Being 6’2” in the 154 lb. division means that Lee will pretty much always be a lot taller than his opponents in this weight class. However, Lee won’t have much of a height advantage over the 6’0” Jackson on Saturday, and the reach between the two is exactly the same at 75”. In this fight, Lee will need to figure out another way to win because he won’t be able to count on his size to get him the win.
“[He’s] a decent boxer/puncher, not polished,” Lee said about Jackson. “I wouldn’t say he’s at the highest level. Certainly if you mess around with him, he could beat you, because he can punch and box. He can fight. It’s a massive opportunity for me. It’s an eliminator for a world title. I’m not looking beyond John Jackson. Truly, I cannot afford to. If I lose the fight any plans of going to the highest level is out of the picture. This is a make or break fight for me. It’s a good move [in moving down to junior middleweight]. It gives me a lot of advantages.”
I agree that Lee’s move down to junior middleweight should help him in theory, but in reality I don’t think that’s going to be the case. At 29, he appears to have missed his window to win a world title after getting beaten by Brian Vera in 2008, and then waiting 4 years before fighting another good opponent when he faced former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2012 in another knockout loss for Lee.
Lee has been facing fodder opposition since his loss to Chavez Jr, but even with the weak opposition, Lee has had to struggle badly to beat Frank Haroche Horta and Anthony Fitzgerald. Those guys are well below John Jackson’s level and there’s no way those fighters would have been able to go 2 or 3 rounds with him.
I have a feeling that Jackson is going to knock Lee out. He hits way too hard, and we’ve already seen that Lee has a chin problem in his previous fights. Once Jackson lands flush, he’ll have Lee in trouble. Once he gets Lee in trouble, Jackson will likely poleaxe him with a right hand or left hand bomb. Jackson’s right hand is very dangerous, and I don’t see Lee being able to take his power.